Heeding the Call for Urgent Primary Care Payment Reform: What Do We Know about How to Get Started?
The COVID-19 pandemic has added further urgency to the need for primary care payment reform. Fee-for-service payments limit the flexibility of practices to respond to crises and leave practices without sufficient revenues when visit volumes decrease. Historic fee-for-service payments have been inadequate, and prior implementations of prospective payments have encountered challenges; there is a need to bring forward the best available evidence on how to design prospective payments for payers and policymakers. Evidence suggests setting primary care investment at 10% to 12% of the total cost of care, approximately translating to an average $85 per member per month, with significant variation based on age and adjustment for medical and social measures of risk. Enhanced investment in primary care should be aligned across payers and support practice transformation to advanced models of care.
Authors: Stephanie B Gold, Larry A Green, John M Westfall