The last few years have seen a growing recognition of inadequacies in medical services due to shortages and maldistribution of physicians and medical facilities. This has resulted in a significant increase in the number of medical schools and educational programs for other health providers. As increasing numbers of physicians and other health providers have become available, public and professional concern has broadened to include barriers to effective utilization of medical care resources. Reports, such as those by the Millis Commission, Coggeshall, and Willard, have placed emphasis on comprehensive and continuing care and the need for an individual physician capable of initiating and coordinating these medical services. These conclusions have been incorporated in a conceptual approach that attempts to plan and organize medical care in terms of primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. This approach, at first limited to planning of hospital and clinic facilities, has now spread in usage, including attempts to categorize the medical specialties by levels of care.
Today, the health system is still criticized as lacking personnel and facilities to meet the basic or primary care needs of all. Moreover, most specialists are trained for skills used at secondary and tertiary levels of care, as this is commonly understood. Societal and professional goals require availability and accessibility of appropriate health and medical services. Thus, it has become important to describe medical services needed at the primary level since this portion of the medical care process is the foundation of all medical services. Planning of these services should be based on the joint endeavor of the medical profession and the representatives of government and society.
- Copyright © 1979 by the American Academy of Pediatrics