Refocus System on Primary Care, Says Iora Health CEO

 Before she found her way to good primary care, a 60-year-old Massachusetts woman named Sharon spent years cycling through the health care system. Although her chronic illnesses remained about the same all during that time, her frustration grew.

Iora Health CEO Rushika Fernandopulle, M.D., M.P.P., described the comfort Sharon finally found in a primary care setting. He shared the story in the closing keynote address at the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative Fall Conference, held here Nov. 11-13.

Because of multiple chronic conditions -- diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, lung cancer and osteoporosis -- Sharon spent about nine months a year in a hospital or skilled nursing facility toward the end of her life. She lacked even the care coordination of being treated at a single hospital or by a single pulmonologist.

"No one had any sense of a plan, and it was affecting her family," said Fernandopulle. "What Sharon needed and what the U.S. health care system needs is some good old-fashioned primary care."

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