Improving the Ability of Primary Care Physicians to Serve their Communities 

Primary care providers are the first line of defense against disease, injury and vulnerability to disease. Various initiatives have emerged to help primary care providers secure the day-to-day healthcare needs of their patients. One of the most exciting recent programs is Primary Care Collaborative’s (PCC) “Better Health – Now” campaign

The “Better Health — Now” campaign

The PCC seeks to improve primary care delivery by bringing together stakeholders to research problems and solutions, improve delivery, work on payments models, and new policy reform.

The “Better Health – Now” campaign is part of the collaborative’s goal of seeking policy change, increasing investment, and promoting payment models that increase access to primary care. 

health care magazine, Healio reports that the PCC’s President and CEO, Ann Greiner, MCP, spoke at the Primary Care Transformation Summit. There, Greiner outlined the PCC’s vision for the campaign. She emphasized that, since the pandemic, primary care had had to “reinvent itself” in order to meet the needs of its patients. The organization became acutely aware of the urgent need for reform, given the continuing changes in primary care, and rising demand, especially as inequities persist and widen. 

Greiner highlighted the three initiatives that the PCC is asking federal and state policymakers to take: 

  • Increase spending on primary care to improve access, center primary care around community needs, and create a more sustainable field
  • Improve accessibility by adopting a prospective payment model
  • Remove barriers faced by people in marginalized communities in their pursuit of mental health 

The Premier Primary Care has long advocated federal and state authorities to adopt a more aggressive stance toward improving accessibility of primary care. The PCC’s efforts are a welcome and necessary step toward advocating for the necessary measures to be taken. 

In addition the PCC believes that by having targeted investment specific for behavioral health primary care providers will be better placed to tackle behavioral health crises such as mental health and substance abuse. 

The Importance of Primary Care

A 2021 report by Statista found that a majority of Americans suffered from some kind of mental health problem in the previous twelve months. 

Source: Statista

Unfortunately, as Greiner notes, the United States invests just 6% of its healthcare budget in primary care, and the United States has just the 11th best healthcare outcomes in the world. The lack of spending on primary care is a poor policy choice. According to research by Harvard and Stanford scientists, if you added 10 specialists to a community of 100,000 people, that community would experience a life-expectancy increase of just 19.2 days, but if you added 10 primary care physicians, longevity would increase by 51.5 days. This is because primary care physicians don’t just treat disease, they help prevent them. If spending on primary care was increased by 50%, taking it to 9%, primary care physicians would be able to hire more staff, give more one-on-one care to patients, and provide a higher level of chronic-disease management. 

The PCC’s efforts deserve all the support they need.