The vision of primary care as the foundation for all health care is one shared by many who work in and around the U.S. health care system. Patients, policymakers, providers, payers and purchasers generally agree that primary care promotes better health for populations through care that is built on trusted relationships.
In the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the gap between vision and reality all too clear. In the spring of 2020, the California Health Care Foundation reported that one-third of California primary care practices felt in danger of permanent closure because of the financial consequences of the pandemic. The COVID-19 experience has brought new calls on the national stage for more aggressive movement on payment reform to support and sustain primary care.
In a new white paper funded by Blue Shield of California, Manatt Health makes the case for widespread adoption of “hybrid” payment models as an immediate action to support primary care’s future in California. It calls on California payers and purchasers to work together on implementation through strong coalitions that have already been established by the California Quality Collaborative, an initiative of the Purchaser Business Group on Health, the Integrated Healthcare Association and others.