It’s Still About Primary Care

Primary care is an investment and the rest of healthcare is a payment…………….

March 24, 2018

About a week ago I met with forward-thinking benefit consultants in western Virginia who are ready, willing, and able to present high value, accountable primary care strategies to their existing and prospective self-funded clients. Why is this different? Frankly, because traditional methods and models of primary care focused strategies (offered by health plans or ACOs) fail to position primary care physicians for success or fail to discriminate among primary care physicians capable of high value, accountable primary care delivery and those who are not.

The task at hand will be to assemble an “inventory” of carefully selected community based primary care physicians to work collaboratively with these benefit consultants and their employer clients to develop and deploy and primary care directed model based on enhanced compensation and clinical freedom and flexibility to align care delivery with the document needs of the population in an effort to drive improved health, reduced spending, and high levels of patient satisfaction/activation.

On Tuesday, March 27th, I will be privileged to be part of a robust conversation in Houston, Texas regarding high value, accountable primary care focused on those practice-level characteristics necessary for success. These characteristics, which include physician leadership, primary care staffing models, practice level technology, and ongoing staff training and development, have been identified based on successful models primary care finance and delivery and my doctoral research.

High value, accountable primary care is possible regardless of primary care delivery source; independent, hospital/health system employed, or “corporate” models (on-site/near site). The key is to hold each source of primary care delivery to a set of evaluative criteria that goes beyond Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and to view primary care as an investment and the rest of healthcare as a payment.