The Primary Care Extension Program: A Catalyst for Change

The Affordable Care Act authorized, but did not fund, the Primary Care Extension Program (PCEP). Much like the Cooperative Extension Program of the US Department of Agriculture sped the modernization of farming a century ago, the PCEP could speed the transformation of primary care. It could also help achieve other goals such as integrating primary care with public health and translating research into practice. The urgency of these goals and their importance to achieving the Triple Aim for health care should increase interest in rapidly building the PCEP, much as the need to feed the country did a century ago.

This article seeks to help clinical and policy leaders understand how critical the Primary Care Extension Program (PCEP) is to enhancing primary care effectiveness, to the integration of primary care and public health, and to translating research into practice, all with the goal of achieving the Triple Aim for health care.

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