HHS Offering $1 million to Strengthen Link between Primary Care and Health Equity

HHS Offering $1 million to Strengthen Link between Primary Care and Health Equity

PCP care is lever for better outcomes, decreased health inequities, says Dr. Wayne Altman, chair of Dept. of Family Medicine at Tufts Medical School. A total of $1 million in cash prizes will be awarded to encourage innovation to improve patient access to primary care and strengthen the connection between healthcare and social services, HHS said. While the competition focuses on primary care and equitable access through HRSA-supported health centers, PCP care overall is a lever for better outcomes and decreased health inequities, according to Dr. Wayne Altman, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Tufts Medical School. However, access to primary care is a challenge due to fewer physicians going into PCP practice in favor of more lucrative specialties, according to Altman, who cited a 2021 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. Physicians are not being paid for answering emails from their patients or for services such as hiring a care manager or a social worker on staff to integrate behavioral health into the practice, Altman said. Altman's answer is proposed Massachusetts legislation called Primary Care for You that would double primary care investment in Massachusetts by switching from fee-for-service to a monthly prospective payment system. About 10 states have similar legislative efforts, said Altman, who heads the Massachusetts Primary Care Alliance for Patients.

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