Proposed Program Would Reimburse Primary Physicians in NJ for Schooling

New Jersey does not have enough primary care doctors in the state and there is a bill going through the legislature that aims to address that issue. Executive Vice President of the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians Ray Saputelli told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the bill is for a program that would reimburse up $200,000 for family and primary care physicians’ schooling, over four years, for those that stay in the state.

Saputelli said that students do not stay in New Jersey because it is one of the least attractive states to practice primary care. He said that reimbursement rates are low and there is a high rate of sub specialists, which reduces the ability for payers to adequately reimburse and compensate primary care providers.

“I can’t tell you how many times I speak with medical students who are from New Jersey, who tell me that the situation here is just untenable to consider practicing primary care. When you look at what the environment is, both in terms of payment and lifestyle, in almost any other state in the nation, it’s very difficult,” Saputelli said.

He said that those who stay in the state are incredibly committed to primary care, to their patients and to the state of New Jersey.

“We have created a very difficult situation and the bill that you introduced at the beginning of the segment is one small piece of what we think would be an adequate series of steps to retain family physicians and primary physicians,” Saputelli said.

Saputelli said that the proposed program would offer up to $200,000, over four years — up to $50,000 a year — to those family and primary care physicians that stay and practice in the state of New Jersey in under-served communities.

“We have got to clear a couple more hurdles before we even get the bill to the governor and it has got to get to the governor by Jan. 13. We are cautiously optimistic and we believe and certainly hope that it will get there by Jan. 13 and the governor will see fit to sign it,” Saputelli said.