The American Academy of Family Physicians' Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care suggests that doctors will be more focused on areas of greater need in the near future. Based on a one-page policy brief, the Primary Care Residency Expansion program is paying off for individuals who require medical treatment in more remote or rural areas. This could mean that medical billing services to these areas could become much more streamlined and functional in the coming years as more doctors seek locations where their expertise is needed.

"The findings highlight the potential impact of targeted investment in primary care residency training, with family medicine residency programs representing the highest return on investment for production of physicians working in primary care, health professional shortage areas and rural areas," the authors of the brief wrote.

Details of the report
Federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2010 granted the five-year program $168 million to position residencies in areas where primary care was desperately needed. A total of 900 residencies were funded for fields like pediatrics, internal medicine and family medicine, the latter of which presented the highest return on investment. 

Robert Graham Center Research Director Dr. Stephen Petterson stressed that the need for primary care physicians was crucial, and that in addition to the estimated success of the program, the U.S. can experiment with more educational centers and building upon the programs that have already taken place thanks to government interaction. However, he did note that budget constraints might make these efforts challenging.

Rural practices create unique hurdles for physicians
There has always been a need for more clinics and practices in shortage areas, but the implementation of the Affordable Care Act could result in an increase to this issue, as more Americans in these regions will have access to medical treatment.

"The issue of access to health care services in rural communities and trying to establish parity between access in rural areas and access in urban areas has been an issue for many, many decades," Lisa Davis, the director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, explained to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, PBS affiliate WITF.

One of these issues might be medical billing coding, especially since patient insurance verification will see a greater increase. While more people in these areas will finally have access to the health care that they deserve, it remains to be seen if doctors will be more present in these medically underserved areas, but the new report indicates that it may be moving in the right direction.