Baker pushes for more emphasis on primary care, mental health

At the heart of his biggest health care initiative as governor, Charlie Baker is proposing a fundamental shift in how Massachusetts delivers care.

Baker has called for new mandates to increase the amount of money health care providers and insurers spend in two critical areas: primary care and mental health care. It’s a long-term bid to change priorities and refocus the health system on services that can help prevent and manage disease, and reduce costly procedures and hospital stays....

A 2019 report from a nonprofit group called the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative found links between increased primary care spending and fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations. The United States’ “underinvestment” in primary care “represents a major disconnect given the robust evidence base showing that health systems with a primary care orientation have superior patient outcomes, fewer inequities, and lower costs,” the report states.

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