Why We Should be Concerned About Primary Care Spending

Primary care physicians are on the frontline of healthcare.  Studies show that patients who routinely see a PCP have 19 percent lower odds of premature death and experience 33 percent lower healthcare costs as opposed to those who only see specialists. An analysis of the FAIR Health dataset reports that states with higher investment in primary care have lower emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

That’s why new research showing a reduction in spending for primary care services is cause for concern. A report from the Primary Care Collaborative shows national spending for primary care services decreased from 4.88 to 4.67 percent over the past year.

The decline in primary care spending, compounded by the limited access to primary care caused by the pandemic, sparks a need for our country’s leaders and policymakers to take action. In order to provide the best quality and affordable care for patients, federal and state legislators need to allocate more funding to primary care. Such policies can be leveraged with value-based models where team-based, technology-enabled, comprehensive care models encourage timely, high-value primary care services and prevention strategies.