Center for Health Policy

How Primary Care Can Handle 15 Million Newly Insured Patients

A major concern that has been raised about millions of newly insured patients entering the healthcare system has been the strain on primary care. How will our primary care system handle so many new patients? First, it is important to recognize that the uninsured already use the healthcare system, typically at about 50% of their need. So, that means for every 100 newly insured patients, it is like adding 50 patients into the primary care system. Still, that number will be quite large, especially for certain areas of the country that have a severe shortage of primary care providers.

This article in the Atlantic details many different innovations that are in the “experimentation” stage. The takeaway is that this challenge of caring for newly insured patients represents an opportunity to transform our healthcare system from one that reactively provides sick care to one that proactively provides ‘health’ care.

Population Health Implications of the Affordable Care Act: Workshop Summary (2013)

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) just released the report, Population Health Implications of the Affordable Care Act summarizing the June 2013 workshop, which examined the impact of the Affordable Care Act on population health improvement. The workshop brought together stakeholders from the public and private sectors involved with health and health care delivery. In an effort to move outside of status quo understanding of population health, this report discusses three core issues:

  • Supporting fruitful interaction between primary care and public health
  • Strengthening governmental public health
  • Exploring community action in transforming the conditions that influence the public’s health.

Other IOM reports can be found here.

Studies Show Need for Primary Care Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are poised to help fill the gap created by the shortage of primary care physicians in Nebraska as more people gain access to health care through the Affordable Care Act. But just like with primary care physicians, there is a shortage of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the state. Two recent studies released by the University of Nebraska Medical Center reveal that the state will need 21 more primary care nurse practitioners and 23 more physician assistants by 2014 to meet the anticipated need created by health care reform.

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