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    We need to continue progress in primary care


    3.    CMS’ Comprehensive Primary Care Plus Program Spurred Care Delivery Transformation

    A unique public-private partnership, the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) initiative is a five-year, multi-payer program that aims to strengthen primary care in America through the expansion of Advanced Primary Care Medical Homes. This year, participating practices began receiving the “financial resources and flexibility to make investments, improve quality of care, and reduce the number of unnecessary services their patients receive.” This medical home model has been shown to transform health care delivery and improve quality and experience of care for patients.

    4.    Primary Care Practices Embraced the “All-Under-One-Roof” Model and Integration of Services

    In communities across the county, primary care practices are continuing to serve as a home-base for medical care. As the first stop—and in many cases a one-stop shop—primary care practices are embracing the medial home model, where health care professionals are able to work collaboratively as “partners in care” to treat traditional acute and chronic conditions but also offer behavioral and mental health services.


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    In Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield leads one of the largest patient-centered medical home programs. Its 4,534 primary care doctors at 1,638 practices have led a transformation of care that has resulted in a 15 percent decrease in adult visits to emergency departments and a 21 percent decrease in ambulatory care-sensitive inpatient stays, according to a report by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative.

    5.    Record Number of Sign-Ups During First Weeks of Open Enrollment

    Open enrollment for 2018 had a record start this November, with nearly 1.5 million Americans signing up for health coverage within the first 11 days. Last year, just over 1 million Americans enrolled in one of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces during the same time period. As open enrollment continues, we must continue to encourage patients to fully utilize their primary care benefits and choose health plans that prioritize primary care.

    Last year’s achievements show that as we continue into 2018, primary care should be at the heart of our healthcare system. The new year provides new opportunities to put patients at the center of their care and improve the health of all Americans by making health primary. For 2018, I am hopeful that there will be even more reasons to celebrate primary care!


    Glen R. Stream is a family physician in La Quinta, Calif., and president of Family Medicine for America’s Health, which sponsors the Health is Primary campaign.

    Glen Stream, MD, FAAFP, MBI
    Dr. Glen Stream, a family physician practicing in La Quinta, California, is past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. ...


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    • [email protected]
      Unbelievable. Programs where the cost of compliance far outweighs any increased payments (locus classicus - PCMH which has been PROVEN to cost 80-100 K per physician per year) is regress, not progress. The damage this kind of thinking has done to our specialty is incalculable. Please, just stop.
    • UBM User
      You’re delusional!! If there is to be any progress in primary care, Medicare needs to pay us more! I’ve been in private practice for 30 years and anytime Medicare wants to pay us more, we have to jump through more hoops for them and submit info that we’re jumping! Physicians like you are the problem. You’re deceived into thanking primary care is getting better. It’s worse!! Why do we have a significant primary care shortage? Why is the role of NP’s increasingly? Because things are worse for primary care! States aren’t investing in primary care!! Primary care incomes are not significantly increasing because of states investment. If that were the case there wouldn’t be a primary care shortage that’s only getting worse! You need to wake up. Like I said you’re delusional. You part of the problem not the solution.
    • [email protected]
      All of this is undoubtedly wonderful news, but one model of primary care is glaringly omitted. Direct Primary Care, a model that in it's purest form does not involve insurance, is making significant contributions to the improvement of primary care delivery via longer appointment times, unlimited visits including email, text and video as well as reduction in healthcare spend via no copays or deductibles and the availability of ancillary services and medications at significantly reduced cost. Although a relatively small percentage of primary care practices are currently DPC, the number is growing. Besides the benefits to the patient, there are also significant benefits to the physician such as fewer patients/day, no intermediary for payment or other intrusive regulations as in insurance-based practices thereby allowing the physician to practice medicine the way they see fit, not as how a third party tells them to. All in all, a wonderful alternative to traditional primary care.

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