Background: The Medicare Prescription Drug Modernization and Improvement Act of 2003 (MMA) will undoubtedly influence health care delivery and affect how physicians practice medicine in the United States. Purpose: To evaluate the extent to which medical students, medicine residents, and physicians are informed about key provisions of the MMA. Methods: Eighty-four attending physicians, 104 medicine residents, and 115 fourth-year medical students at the University of Pennsylvania were surveyed over a 2-week period in February-March 2004. The brief survey instrument consisted of 10 multiple-choice questions: 9 questions assessing how well-informed respondents were about the MMA and 1 question assessing their knowledge of general current events. Results: Most respondents (77.8%) either "strongly disagreed" or "disagreed" that they were adequately informed about the MMA. While more than half of all respondents correctly answered the two questions about drug importation from Canada and general current events, a majority did not provide the correct answer to each of the other questions. No significant differences appeared by training. Conclusions: Attending physicians, medicine residents, and medical students at the University of Pennsylvania were generally ill informed about the MMA. Physician ignorance about important health care legislation continues to be a significant problem. More effective means of educating and informing medical students and physicians at all levels of training about important health policy changes may be warranted.
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