Spending on primary care paltry, but some states ramping up

  • Increasing spending on primary care lowers emergency department visits and hospitalizations, according to the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative's 2019 Evidence Report.
  • The report from the advocacy group made up of health plans, doctors, nurses and other stakeholders, looked at states' primary care spending patterns across payer types and correlated patient outcomes. Primary care was defined in two ways: narrow, relating to just primary care physicians in offices and outpatient settings, and broad, relating to primary care physicians and other members of the clinical team, including nurses, physician assistants and behavioral health professionals.
  • The national average of primary care spend across both public and private payers between 2011 and 2016 was only 5.6% using the narrow definition, and 10.2% using the broad definition. By comparison, 38% of U.S. healthcare dollars went to hospital care alone.
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