Primary care orgs team up to “rewire” financing

The seven organizations have developed recommendation to transform the way primary care is financed.

In an unprecedented move, seven different organizations have teamed up to transform the way that primary care is financed.

According to a news release, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Board of Family Medicine, the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and the Society of General Internal Medicine have joined together to create “a unified vision to change the conversation and modernize primary care.”

The collaboration is rooted in the weakening of the healthcare system due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Primary care physicians handle nearly 40 percent of all healthcare visits and have made adaptations to continue to treat the public during the pandemic but they have been largely left out of national pandemic relief legislation, the release says.

The organizations’ unified vision includes a shift from cost-based attributes of the current model to a model grounded in health equity and investment through specific recommendations aimed at advancing primary care as a public good, shifting the model of primary care, and dismantling the regulatory and financing structures which interfere with optimal health, according to the release.

In an open letter to lawmakers, insurers, purchasers, and the public, the organizations call on:

  • The federal government to increase investment in safety net pograms, public health, and community-based services so that they can partner with the healthcare sector in addressing structural racism and social determinants of health
  • Healthcare organizations to invest in existing community-based social services and ensure that the funding supports services like food banks and other safety net programs that address social drivers of health
  • Fellow physician and clinician societies to create a roadmap for dismantling the policies and regulatory structures that enshrine the current paradigm and to build a multi-stakeholder support for a roadmap

“Primary care physicians cannot adequately meet the needs of their communities if they remain shackled to payment schemes which reimburse for volume instead of value,” John Brady, MD, chair of the American Board of Family Medicine, says in the release. “Many current regulatory demands unnecessarily distract clinicians from patient care. Coming out of the pandemic, a return to the status quo is not sufficient. The American public deserves better.”