July 16, 2021 (ACP) -- The American College of Physicians is spearheading a new coalition devoted to advocating for the needs of primary care physicians and their patients.
“It is time to change the conversation about primary care and finally deliver to the American people a health care system that prioritizes their health,” wrote Dr. George M. Abraham, president of ACP, and Dr. Ada D. Stewart, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), in a June 18 Politico commentary. “That is why our organizations, along with other key partners, have come together to form Primary Care for America, a collaboration focused on demonstrating the value of primary care, the need for increased primary care investment and the importance of innovation in primary care delivery and payment models.”
Thirteen organizations comprise the Primary Care for America collaboration: ACP, AAFP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, agilon health, Aledade, Catalyst Health Network, ChenMed, Elation Health, Everside Health, MDVIP, the National Association of Community Health Centers, One Medical and VillageMD.
As Abraham and Stewart noted in their commentary, a national commission in 1966 called for every American to have a primary care physician. Then, three decades later, in 1996 the Institute of Medicine issued another report about the need to strengthen primary care services in the United States. In May of this year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued, “Implementing High-Quality Primary Care: Rebuilding the Foundation of Health Care, “ again calling attention to the need to improve our primary care system.
The new coalition aims to reverse the tide through education and engagement. Primary Care for America will bring briefings, recommendations and roundtable discussions to policymakers and highlight the importance of a health care system that is driven by innovation, delivers patient-centered integrated care, guarantees equitable access and ensures effective care for future generations.
“The coalition is capitalizing on the energy around the need for better health care in America,” said Dr. Darilyn Moyer, ACP executive vice president and CEO. “We're also taking advantage of our close relationships with other groups in the primary care sphere.”
As Moyer put it, the coalition will “intensely and deeply” prioritize spreading messages around the crucial importance of primary care. The key messages are:
- Our health care system must prioritize the role of primary care teams in promoting patient health and wellness instead of the current fee-for-service framework that narrowly incentivizes “sick” care.
- We must improve access to primary care services for patients in underserved communities by removing barriers to care, including workforce shortages and health insurance status.
- We must restore growth in the primary care workforce to ensure effective and accessible care for future generations.
- The primary care infrastructure must allow for flexibility and innovation to meet individual community needs.
- More resources must be allocated to primary care, with an increased focus on comprehensiveness of care.
“ACP members should know that we hear them, and we're trying to amplify their important messages,” Moyer said. “We're working hard to get the ear of decision-makers in a comprehensive and effective way.”
Visit the Primary Care for America website for more information on the coalition.