Primary Care

Other Primary Care Pages

Description

Publicly funded primary care includes care provided through federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), including federally funded community health centers (CHCs), rural health clinics (RHCs), migrant health centers and “free” clinics. Some of these are federally-funded, others receive funding/technical assistance or other forms of support from state or local government, and others are supported through voluntary efforts and charitable contributions. This category also includes emergency medical services (EMS) that typically are subsidized through federal, state or local taxes and contributions and coordinated through local law enforcement.

Related programs include various federal and state loan forgiveness programs (such as the National Health Service Corps) in which physicians or other health providers can have part or all of their medical student loans forgiven in exchange for working in medically underserved areas for a specified time period. Such individuals most frequently are assigned to the primary care centers described above.  Finally, Medicare indirect Graduate Medical Education (GME) payments and similar resident subsidies provided in some states help subsidize the provision of uncompensated care by medical residents either in inpatient or outpatient settings.

Links

  • Friedberg, Mark W., Peter S. Hussey, and Eric C. Schneider. “Primary Care: A Critical Review of the Evidence on Quality and Costs of Health Care.” Health Affairs 29, no. 5 (2010): 766-772. Despite contentious debate over the new national health care reform law, there is an emerging consensus that strengthening primary care will improve health outcomes and restrain the growth of health care spending. Policy discussions imply three general definitions of primary care: a specialty of medical providers, a set of functions served by a usual source of care, and an orientation of health systems. We review the empirical evidence linking each definition of primary care to health care quality, outcomes, and costs. The available evidence most directly supports initiatives to increase providers’ ability to serve primary care functions and to reorient health systems to emphasize delivery of primary care.

     

     

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