Without looking at the Penn Memory Center faculty page, try to answer the question: Who is an Alzheimer’s disease doctor?
In his latest Forbes column, Penn Memory Center Co-Director Dr. Jason Karlawish recalls the definition applied by a task force he was on: a geriatrician, neurologist or psychiatrist who devotes a ‘substantial proportion’ of practice — at least 25 percent of patient contact — to diagnosing and caring for adults with cognitive problems. Unfortunately, he explains, ‘there aren’t a lot of doctors who meet this criterion.” Why not?
“Physicians studying to be an Alzheimer’s doctor tell me a common story. Their peers can’t understand why they’re doing it,” Karlawish wrote. “Visits run long but yield little in fees. There are few drugs to prescribe or tests to order. It’s not economically viable to have a clinical practice focused on Alzheimer’s disease.”
In order to address the issue, “we’re going to have to change the system of care,” he wrote. “We’re going to have to spend some money for the time it takes to take care of older adults with cognitive impairments.”