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Lex’s Miller installed as president of statewide family physicians group

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Lexington physician Dr. Joseph Miller was installed as president of the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians in La Vista on Friday, March 20.

Miller has served on the Nebraska Academy Board of Directors since 2010, and is a trustee on the organization’s Foundation Board.

Miller, who practices with Plum Creek Medical Group in Lexington said the academy’s role is to support family physicians as they work to provide the best care possible to their patients. He spoke with the Clipper-Herald Tuesday about the role he sees the NAFP playing in a changing healthcare landscape in Nebraska.

“As I see it, the academy has several things to do,” Miller said. “There have been a lot of changes in healthcare in the past five years, and we are going to see even more changes in the next five years.”

First, the NAFP must prepare physicians, through education and support, for the transformation of healthcare away from traditional models of treating disease and toward treating the overall health of the patient, he said.

“Second, we need to work through the legislature to make sure everyone is paying for what they are getting,” Miller said. He explained that presently some insurers do pay for what he called patient-centered care, but others do not. “We will probably have to go through the legislature to change that.”

Third, Miller said that the NAFP must address the dwindling numbers of family care physicians in the state. “The state produces about 39 new family physicians every year, but we are losing a lot of them to peripheral states because they can get a better deal there,” Miller said. He continued that loan repayment programs for primary care physicians may need to be implemented to help combat the falling numbers in the field.

“We really need to be looking at the beginning of the pipeline, at medical students and residents,” he said. “That’s going to be a priority.” He pointed out that around 50 percent of family physicians are over the age of 50.

Miller said that family care physicians are being looked to nationally to be among the primary movers in changing how healthcare works in America. “Things are going to look a lot different in five years. There are  a lot of forces that don’t want it to, but it is going to look different,” he said.

Miller was installed during the the 67th Annual Meeting and Scientific Assembly held in La Vista, March 19-21. Over 150 other physicians attended the three-day meeting which included topics of immediate interest to family physicians, both in their everyday practices and in their continual endeavors to keep abreast of the latest preventive advances in medicine.  Members must complete 150 hours of mandatory continuing study every three years.

About the NAFP

The Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians has a total membership of 1,300 members and is a Constituent Chapter of the AmericanAcademy of Family Physicians which has 119,000 physicians and medical students nationwide.  It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.  Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians.  Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the Nebraska Chapter, visit www.nebrafp.org.

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