Blog Post

Supporting Access and Equity in Primary Care Through New Payment Models

Date: 
March 22, 2022

This panel discusses how Californians can work together to realize a future vision for primary care that addresses the issues of unequal access and disparities in health outcomes.

The recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report on “Implementing High-Quality Primary Care” emphasized that primary care is unique among health services for its contribution to health and equity, making it an essential common good for society. Not only is a stronger primary care system required in the US to take care of America’s health care needs over the majority of a person’s lifetime, but investment in primary care has the power to improve health equity more than any other part of our health care system.

Immediate and concerted action is needed by payers serving the same communities to collaborate on how they pay for primary care to improve health equity and address disparities in care.

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The discussion covers these questions:

  • What’s the status of primary care? Why is multi-payer alignment around payment essential?
  • What is the vision for addressing health inequities and improving outcomes through a strengthened primary care base?
  • Why is payment innovation fundamental to the issue of achieving high quality primary care, what's the role of an expanded care team?

Speakers were:

  • Dr. Asaf Bitton is the executive director of Ariadne Labs, and a senior advisor for primary care policy at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. He is a founder of the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative, which includes 20+ countries, the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, and the Gates Foundation.
  • Christopher Koller is president of the Milbank Memorial Fund, a 100+ year old operating foundation that improves population health by connecting leaders with the best information and experience, and a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice in the School of Public Health at Brown University.
  • Shruti Kothari leads Industry Initiatives for Blue Shield of California, focusing on industry alignment to scale health care transformation. Shruti is on the board for Family Caregiver Alliance, and an Advisor for the End Well Foundation.
  • Dr. Sunita Mutha directs Healthforce Center and is professor of medicine and primary care physician at the UCSF. Healthforce Center works to define issues and influence health policy with rigorous analysis and actionable, unbiased information that builds leadership capacity.
  • Dr. Stella Safo is a board-certified HIV primary care physician, public health advocate, and the founder of Just Equity for Health, a health care improvement company that uses advocacy, education, and care model design to ensure equitable care delivery across all sectors of medicine.

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