Investing more in primary care LOWERS healthcare costs and results in HIGHER patient satisfaction, FEWER hospitalizations and emergency department visits and LOWER mortality. Patients have the BEST outcomes when they have continuity of care from their primary care providers.
Despite current high levels of healthcare spending in the United States ($3.5 trillion in 2017 alone), the portion spent on primary care is insufficient (only 5-8% of the healthcare spend). A shift in resources to support greater access to comprehensive, coordinated primary care is imperative to achieving a stronger, higher-performing healthcare system.
How to increase primary care investment and improve outcomes
Embrace a value-based delivery and reimbursement model, which recognizes the importance of chronic care management, preventive care and wellness care. In the U.S., spending on office visits to primary care providers continues to decline, while spending on specialty care continues to increase. This pattern of spending runs counter to the goal of meeting patient needs in a manner that contains or reduces costs and also increases the primary care workforce shortage by incentivizing non-primary care specialties. The current U.S. payment system (fee-for-service) rewards provision of more services vs. efforts to prevent patients from getting sick in the first place, overvaluing procedures and interventions and undervaluing management of chronic conditions, prevention and wellness care.
Enable physicians and providers to focus on health and community outcomes by investing in primary care access, care coordination, consumer empowerment and integration of behavioral health services.
Strengthen team-based primary care through investment in people and infrastructure, including care managers, counselors, modernization of facilities and a health information exchange.
Track and report primary care investment through a standardized measure.
MAFP has been meeting with stakeholders and reviewing efforts in other states with the goal of increasing primary care investment in Minnesota.
Interested in providing feedback on primary care investment or getting plugged into advocacy opportunities? Contact Jami Burbidge, MAM, our director of advocacy and engagement.
- Patient-Centered Care Collaborative. Investing in Primary Care: A State-Level Analysis (Executive Summary). July 2019.
- Patient-Centered Care Collaborative. Consensus Recommendations on Primary Care Investment. August 2018.
- Patient-Centered Care Collaborative. Spending for Primary Care Fact Sheet. 2019.