3. CMS’ Comprehensive Primary Care Plus Program Spurred Care Delivery Transformation
A unique public-private partnership, the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) initiative is a five-year, multi-payer program that aims to strengthen primary care in America through the expansion of Advanced Primary Care Medical Homes. This year, participating practices began receiving the “financial resources and flexibility to make investments, improve quality of care, and reduce the number of unnecessary services their patients receive.” This medical home model has been shown to transform health care delivery and improve quality and experience of care for patients.
4. Primary Care Practices Embraced the “All-Under-One-Roof” Model and Integration of Services
In communities across the county, primary care practices are continuing to serve as a home-base for medical care. As the first stop—and in many cases a one-stop shop—primary care practices are embracing the medial home model, where health care professionals are able to work collaboratively as “partners in care” to treat traditional acute and chronic conditions but also offer behavioral and mental health services.
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In Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield leads one of the largest patient-centered medical home programs. Its 4,534 primary care doctors at 1,638 practices have led a transformation of care that has resulted in a 15 percent decrease in adult visits to emergency departments and a 21 percent decrease in ambulatory care-sensitive inpatient stays, according to a report by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative.
5. Record Number of Sign-Ups During First Weeks of Open Enrollment
Open enrollment for 2018 had a record start this November, with nearly 1.5 million Americans signing up for health coverage within the first 11 days. Last year, just over 1 million Americans enrolled in one of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces during the same time period. As open enrollment continues, we must continue to encourage patients to fully utilize their primary care benefits and choose health plans that prioritize primary care.
Last year’s achievements show that as we continue into 2018, primary care should be at the heart of our healthcare system. The new year provides new opportunities to put patients at the center of their care and improve the health of all Americans by making health primary. For 2018, I am hopeful that there will be even more reasons to celebrate primary care!
Glen R. Stream is a family physician in La Quinta, Calif., and president of Family Medicine for America’s Health, which sponsors the Health is Primary campaign.