Primary Care Collaborative Echoes Call of High-Level Report Released Today for Reform of Primary Care

Multistakeholder Organization Has History of Identifying Policy and Practice Solutions to Strengthen Vital Part of Health System

WASHINGTON, MAY 4, 2021—As the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), the country’s premier independent, evidence-based adviser on medicine and healthcare, release a landmark new report today on primary care, the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC), a national nonprofit organization working to develop high-quality primary care as the foundation of a strong healthcare system, applauds the report and echoes its call for strengthening primary care to improve population health and reduce health inequities. 

The NASEM report—Implementing High-Quality Primary Care: Rebuilding the Foundation of Health Care—examined the current state of primary care in the U.S. in order to inform an implementation plan to strengthen primary care in the U.S., especially for underserved populations. The report builds upon the recommendations from the 1996 Institute of Medicine (the National Academy of Medicine’s original name) Primary Care: America's Health in a New Era report.

“Primary care is the ‘front door’ of our healthcare system and an evidence-based way to achieve health equity. Yet, given this prominent role and how vital it is to Americans’ health, it remains under-resourced,” said Ann Greiner, PCC’s President and CEO. “As this momentous report is released from this respected institution, we have a historic opportunity. The Biden administration is looking to build our systems back better, and we are emerging from a health crisis that has catalyzed many changes in health care. Now is the time to come together to strengthen primary care as the foundation of a high-value U.S. health system.”

Founded in 2006, PCC brings together stakeholders in public and private organizations from across primary care, including physician and nursing groups, patient and consumer organizations, health plans, employers, industry, quality organizations and health systems, to forge consensus around policy solutions that further primary care.

Greiner affirmed the current state of the sector as stated by NASEM upon the release of its report: Today, only about 5% of healthcare expenditures go to primary care, its workforce pipeline is shrinking, and there is unequal access to primary care. Primary care is the only part of the health system that evidence shows lengthens lives and reduces inequities at the population level.

PCC’s latest evidence-based report, Primary Care Spending: High Stakes, Low Investment, examined the U.S. health system’s investment in primary care, as measured by primary care spending. The report found that spending is low and declined between 2017 and 2019, both nationally and in a majority of states. The findings support a growing body of literature showing that health systems with a foundation of robust, comprehensive primary care achieve better, more equitable health outcomes and are less costly.

Key findings of the report:

  • National spending falls: In 2019, primary care spending across commercial payers was only 4.67% of total national commercial healthcare spending, falling from 4.88% in 2017.
  • Spending across states varies: The primary care spending percentage across states varied from a low of 3.14% in Kentucky to a high of 9.48% in Michigan in 2019 using a narrow definition of primary care providers and services, and from a low of 5.57% in Pennsylvania to a high of 16.64% in Mississippi using a broad definition of primary care spending.
  • Spending in most states is falling: The negative trend in primary care spending over a three-year period (2017 to 2019) was observed across 39 states when using a narrow definition of primary care clinicians and services and across 30 states when using a broad measure.
  • Higher spending has health benefits: The current report, like PCC’s previous report on state-level spending in primary care, documents an association between higher primary care spending at the state level and fewer emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and preventable hospitalizations.

“The PCC and its members have been saying it for years: We need to both increase investment in and change the way primary care is paid for and delivered,” said Darilyn Moyer, MD, FACP, FRCP, FIDSA, chair of the PCC’s board of directors and Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Physicians. “Primary care was shrinking—and then the pandemic hit, which dealt a significant blow. To restore life expectancy and address troubling inequities in care, we need to focus on strengthening and reforming primary care as we emerge from the pandemic and into the future.”   

PCC will address the NASEM report’s recommendations in a webinar on May 13, 2021, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EDT. Members of the media are invited (register). The PCC has assembled a diverse panel of high-profile primary care leaders to react to the recommendations and discuss how to leverage the report to accelerate primary care reform. Bob Phillips, MD, MSPH, Founding Executive Director of The Center for Professionalism & Value in Health Care, American Board of Family Medicine Foundation, and co-chair of the committee that produced the report, will present the report, followed by a discussion among:

  • Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, CEO, Care Solutions, Optum
  • Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, JD, Vice President for Health Justice, National Partnership for Women and Families
  • Kavita Patel, MD, MS, Nonresident Fellow, The Brookings Institution

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These experts are available to speak to the media in reaction to NASEM’s new report or about PCC’s report and work:

  • Ann Greiner, President and CEO, Primary Care Collaborative
  • Darilyn Moyer, Executive Vice President and CEO, American College of Physicians.

If you would like to arrange an interview with either of them, contact:

Stephen Padre
PCC’s Communications Manager
[email protected]hepcc.org
202-417-3911

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