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September 14, 1994

Access to Care in Medically Underserved Areas

Author Affiliations

Detroit, Mich

JAMA. 1994;272(10):767. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520100031018

To the Editor.  —Dr Petersdorf's Editorial1 is simplistic in its approach to resolving the problems of patient access to care and availability of primary care by advocating a 2-year conscription of medical graduates to be placed in underserved areas.The idea that all graduates need to be involved in a program of medical school loan forgiveness is overreaching and raises significant questions about the federal funding for medical schools, the number of students to be trained, and potential interference and control by the government of medical education. The idea that the federal government is the best arbiter to decide which areas of the country are medically underserved ignores the role that politics plays in such decisions.The provision of 17 500 new graduates into underserved areas without adequate support services (ie, inner-city and rural locations) does not solve the problem of providing quality care in regions where access is

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