Primary Care Practices Providing a Broader Range of Services Have Lower Medicare Expenditures and Emergency Department Utilization

Eugene C Rich, Ann S O'Malley, Claire Burkhart, Lisa Shang, Arkadipta Ghosh, and Matthew J Niedzwiecki

This article was featured in the July 22, 2021, Lunch and Learn discussion

In this segment of the July Lunch and Learn discussion, Dr. Eugene Rich, Senior Fellow at Mathematica, presented the paper and answered questions from the audience.

Summary of Discussion Highlights:

  • Expand team-based care:
    • Utilize the full range of the primary care workforce including mobile pharmacists, mobile health workers, social workers, and so on, allowing each profession to work at the top of their license.
    • Conduct more research on the range of services provided in practices that include NPs and PAs.
  • Integrate behavioral health and primary care:
    • When practices provide a broader range of services (including counseling), their Medicare beneficiaries subsequently experience fewer ED visits and lower total spending.
    • Include team members who have behavioral health skills and take advantage of existing primary care physician competencies.
      • E.g., family medicine has historically included training in basic mental health counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy.
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