JANUARY 26, 2017 – There is a crisis in primary care. There are too few primary care physicians (PCPs), and the shortage is getting worse. More than 50 percent of them show some signs of burnout, and, most importantly, those in practice have too little time with each patient. Short visits mean not enough time to listen and think, resulting in excess testing and x-rays, unnecessary prescriptions and frequent referrals to specialists, thus driving up the cost of care.
… Qliance, MDVIP (there are Maryland PCPs associated with MDVIP) and Iora Health follow a similar approach. Primary care utilization is higher, but the end result is total medical costs are substantially reduced due to fewer specialist referrals, fewer hospitalizations, fewer E.R. visits and so on, yet quality indicators are up and satisfaction for patient and doctor are greatly improved. A few insurers such as CareFirst are seeing the value of more time with the patient and are adjusting their fee for service reimbursements accordingly in return for a written care plan and more time with prevention and chronic illness care coordination.