Magazine article Medical Economics

Primary Care Can Kill Fee-for-Service with Diverse Payment Models

Magazine article Medical Economics

Primary Care Can Kill Fee-for-Service with Diverse Payment Models

Article excerpt

** ITS NO SECRET that primary care is becoming more important to the healthcare landscape. Provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are expected to add 25 million primary care appointments annually. In order to lower costs and make primary care more accessible as more people seek healthcare, UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization and Optum Labs released a report recommending that states the solution lies in phasing out fee-for-service models and incorporating multiple healthcare teams, diverse pay models and technology.

"As much as half of wasteful health care spending results from Mures of care delivery and care coordination, as well as overtreatment - all of which could be improved by moving away from the fee-for-service reimbursement model," the report states.

Efficient and easy-tofind primary care services also contribute to the decrease in emergency department visits. Nearly 70% of emergency department visits by insured patients are for non-emergency issues, according to the report

The report suggests policies and regulations that increase roles for nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs), thereby making primary care services more attainable and affordable for people living in medically under served communities. "In the 10% of local markets with the lowest concentration of primary care physicians, the concentration of NPs and PAs was highest, and there were approximately equal numbers of physician and non-physician providers," according to the report. …

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