I hope you were able join our virtual Winter Conference yesterday. The topic was Primary Care as a Common Good – The Prescription for a Healthier and More Equitable Health Care System. Our speakers, including keynote Dr. Shawna Hudson, spoke about the value of high-quality primary care, how that is defined, and how it is essential to building a strong and equitable health care system. Dr. Hudson shared her research and experience on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine (NASEM) primary care work group and its recent report, “Implementing High-Quality Primary Care.” The report calls out the increased need for primary care as we try to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. It urges that primary care should be a common good, where everyone and every family has regular access to a trusted source of primary care in their community. The report, as discussed by Dr. Hudson, not only sounds the alarm, but sets forth an implementation plan for what we can do as a state and country. The report provides examples of others who have created strong models and systems of primary care. These ideas range from technology innovations to better communication and coordination, to increased investment in primary care, especially in underserved communities.
Our member expert panelists, including one of our board members, Dr. Mary Campagnolo, shared how they are innovating in practicing or supporting high quality primary care. They shared some details about their models as well as the need for public and private sectors to ensure greater access, increase reimbursements, update training for team-based care, and improve health information technology systems. If you were not able to attend the conference, we will be posting a link to the recording soon.
Yesterday’s discussion was “part one” of our public dialogue to ensure that high quality primary care is available to every individual and family in every community. For part two, on February 23 from 12-2 pm, we are pleased to bring you as our keynote speaker Mr. Christopher Koller, President of the Milbank Memorial Fund. Mr. Koller was one of Dr. Hudson’s co-authors of the NASEM report. He will focus on the path we can take forward as a state and share examples of what he’s seen work elsewhere. You’ll also hear from many of our member-experts on how to ensure New Jersey has the community-based system of primary care it needs.
Strengthening high quality primary care was a goal of several recommendations (numbers 14, 15, and 16) in our Emerging From COVID-19: An Action Plan for a Healthier State, which included 24 consensus-based recommendations. Many of you were part of our work and we thank you for your collaboration on it. Recognizing the importance of primary care in building back from the pandemic, this year’s state budget includes actions to be taken on these three recommendations. This is a critical moment for us to move this work forward — together.
Finally, all of us here at the Quality Institute wish you a happy holiday season. We hope you find time for self-care and safe gathering with friends and family. Stay tuned for our 2022 health policy wish list and send me yours. I am eager to hear about your priorities.