In a report issued earlier this week, Surgeon General David Satcher called for better healthcare for the mentally retarded. The report was the product of the Conference On Health Disparities And Mental Retardation, held in Washington, D.C.

The report highlights what the authors call "vast shortcomings" in healthcare for people with mental retardation. Satcher's recommendations, if heeded by Congress, will have an impact on all areas of healthcare--not only primary care but eye and dental care as well. It could lead to a demand for CME aimed at teaching healthcare professioals how to better deal with mentally retarded patients.

Specifically, Satcher said healthcare professionals ought to talk more with their mentally retarded patients; the report suggests doctors seldom communicate wth them.