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Reforming payment models, expanding telehealth, and supporting team-based care are key to ensuring access to primary care.
Providing quality primary care to all people in the country, the U.S. must reform payment models, expand telehealth, and support team-based care.
According to a news release, these are just some of the recommendations contained in a new report from the Committee on Implementing High-Quality Primary Care titled Implementing High-Quality Primary Care: Rebuilding the Foundation of Health Care.
The report notes that no federal agency has direct oversight over primary care and recommends the Department of Health and Human Services establish a Secretary’s Council on Primary Care to act as the accountable entity as well as an Office of Primary Care Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the release says.
Insurance status should not be a barrier to an individual having a consistent source of primary care. The report recommends that insurance providers ask covered individuals to declare their source of primary care every year so the data can be tracked and used for accountability measures, according to the release.
Despite its status as a cornerstone of the health system, visits are declining, the workforce is shrinking, and many practices struggle to remain open. The decline in the primary care workforce has been associated with the loss of 85 lives per day overall, to combat this the report recommends diversifying the primary care workforce, equalizing compensation with specialties, and incentivizing trainees to work in underserved areas, the release says.
“The strength and quality of primary care need to be a public priority,” Bob Phillips, director of the Center for Professionalism and Value in Health Care, American Board of Family Medicine, and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report, says in the release. “Primary care serves people throughout their lives, for everything from school-mandated health checkups to managing multiple chronic conditions, but it remains inaccessible to far too many. If we increase the supply of primary care, more people and communities will be healthier — and no other part of health care can make this claim. For this reason, similar to public education, primary care should be a common good, not a commodity service that needs to compete in the marketplace.”
Other recommendations contained in the report are below, as they appear in the release: