December 6, 2023

Why We Have to Strengthen Main Care

Reprinted by permission of the Nationwide Academy of Drugs.

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers (HHS) acknowledges that efficient major care is important for bettering the well being and well-being of people, households, and communities and advancing well being fairness. It’s well documented that health systems with a robust primary care base present higher entry to well being providers and have improved well being outcomes, decrease mortality, and extra fairness. Robust major care also can end in important price financial savings.

By strengthening major care, HHS will advance the Division’s strategic targets of increasing entry, lowering disparities, bettering well being outcomes, and guaranteeing HHS applications attain underserved communities (HHS, n.d.a). Strong major care is important for addressing behavioral well being, together with the overdose epidemic and the kid and adolescent psychological well being disaster; bettering maternal and little one well being, reminiscent of by lowering disparities in maternal mortality; and stopping and managing persistent circumstances.

Main care in our nation is dealing with quite a few challenges. Too many individuals lack entry to major care and an ongoing, trusted relationship with a major care clinician and staff. There are disparities in entry primarily based on race, ethnicity, age, geography, in addition to different demographic elements (Jabbarpour et al., 2022). Key federal applications offering major care to greater than 30 million folks in rural and underserved areas require extra funding and help to satisfy the wants of their communities. As well as, the workforce isn’t rising as quick as demand and the brand new era of clinicians search different disciplines with higher work-life steadiness and compensation (HRSA, 2022; Steinwald et al., 2019). Federal funding in major care analysis is low (Mendel et al., 2021). Final, coordination of major care with different scientific providers and sectors can be typically difficult.

HHS Actions to Strengthen Main Care

Since 2021, a number of HHS companies have collaborated on growing a coordinated set of HHS-wide actions, with enter from exterior stakeholders and members of the general public, to strengthen major care and advance well being fairness. These actions construct on HHS’s longstanding work in major care and leverage the Division’s insurance policies, applications, and authorities.

HHS has adopted the definition of high-quality major care put forth within the 2021 Nationwide Academies of Science, Engineering and Drugs consensus report, Implementing Excessive-High quality Main Care: Rebuilding the Basis of Well being Care:

The supply of whole-person,* built-in, accessible, and equitable well being care by interprofessional groups who’re accountable for addressing the vast majority of a person’s well being and wellness wants throughout settings and thru sustained relationships with sufferers, households, and communities.

*Entire-person well being focuses on well-being relatively than the absence of illness. (NASEM, 2021)

With its set of actions and the adoption of this definition, HHS is capitalizing on its investments in major care, strengthening multidisciplinary groups and staff member roles, bettering digital well being instruments, advancing major care analysis, and supporting apply enchancment to facilitate the supply of whole-person major care.

The Division’s actions intention to advance well being fairness by bettering equitable entry to whole-person major care; fostering ongoing, trusted relationships between sufferers and their major care clinicians and groups; incorporating enter from the neighborhood into major care; rising the variety of the workforce; rising cross-sector partnerships to coordinate preventive providers and deal with social wants and environmental elements affecting well being (see ACF, n.d.); supporting bi-directional integration of well being care providers throughout techniques for folks with behavioral well being circumstances; rising resilience to disasters and emergencies by means of partnerships and workforce competency improvement; and advancing digital well being care and first care analysis utilizing a well being fairness lens.

These HHS actions are complementary to and aligned with federal priorities such because the HHS Strategic Plan, the HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Well being Integration, the HHS Strategic Method to Addressing Social Determinants of Well being to Advance Well being Fairness, the HHS Overdose Prevention Technique and the White Home Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Well being Disaster. (HHS, n.d.a, n.d.b, 2022a, 2022b; White Home, 2022).   

Taking Motion

HHS is transferring ahead with implementing actions to strengthen major care. Simply final week, the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Providers (CMS) launched the Doctor Price Schedule Remaining Rule for Calendar Yr 2024, which acknowledges that major care is instrumental within the supply of high-quality, whole-person care (CMS, 2023a). Constructing an efficient longitudinal relationship, in and of itself, is a key facet of offering cheap and vital medical care and can improve adherence to therapy suggestions after the go to and through future visits. It’s the work constructing this necessary relationship between the practitioner and affected person for major and longitudinal care that has been beforehand unrecognized and unaccounted for throughout analysis and administration visits. CMS will start to offer sure extra funds for physicians and different practitioners delivering major and longitudinal care beginning in 2024.

Different carried out actions embrace the file variety of sufferers served in rural and underserved communities by means of Well being Sources and Providers Administration-supported well being facilities; file numbers of scholarships and mortgage reimbursement help awards by means of the Nationwide Well being Service Corps for physicians and nurses at present offering care in rural and underserved communities; a serious enlargement of coaching and teleconsultation entry for major care suppliers on treating psychological well being circumstances and integrating psychological well being into school-based well being facilities; new grants supporting coaching for brand spanking new major care docs to raised serve people with restricted English proficiency and people with disabilities; the discharge by the by the CMS Heart for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation of a brand new cost and care supply mannequin, Making Care Main, which goals to advance well being fairness and check the supply of enhanced funds, sources, and information to major care clinicians; the enlargement of disciplines whose providers are paid by Medicare, to additional help multidisciplinary groups; the distribution of recent major care residency slots to underserved areas; and actions that facilitate behavioral well being and first care integration (CMS, 2023b). For instance, the Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Providers Administration’s newly launched Strategic Plan for 2023-2026 consists of advancing the mixing of behavioral and bodily well being care as considered one of 5 key precedence areas (SAMHSA, 2023). Additionally, HHS is within the early phases of growing a Main Care Dashboard that may monitor the “well being” of our nation’s major care system and the impacts of HHS actions to strengthen major care.

These are just some of the numerous actions HHS has just lately taken to strengthen major care. HHS has launched a difficulty temporary that describes extra fully major care actions already taken and highlights the Division’s deliberate future work to strengthen major care (HHS, 2023). With the discharge of this subject temporary, HHS goals to foster collective motion amongst stakeholders and throughout the well being care system and different sectors to maximise particular person and inhabitants well being and well-being; guarantee entry to inexpensive, complete, whole-person major care all through the nation; and make it potential for all communities to be served by trusted major care clinicians and multidisciplinary groups who mirror the communities they serve.


A strong major care basis for our well being care system is important for bettering the well being of our folks and advancing well being fairness. HHS is making strides in strengthening major care in our nation and has plans for additional actions, described within the subject temporary. The Division will monitor the well being of our major care system to develop extra, data-informed interventions and keep give attention to strengthening major care.


ACF (Administration for Kids & Households). n.d. Medical-legal partnerships plus. Workplace of Neighborhood Providers. (accessed November 3, 2023).

CMS (Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Providers). 2023a. Calendar 12 months (CY) 2024 Medicare doctor charge schedule closing rule. (accessed November 3, 2023).

CMS. 2023b. Making care major (MCP) mannequin. (accessed November 3, 2023).

HHS (U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers). n.d.a. Strategic plan FY 2022-2026. (accessed November 3, 2023).

HHS. n.d.b. Overdose prevention technique. (accessed November 3, 2023).

HHS. 2022a. HHS roadmap for behavioral well being integration. (accessed November 3, 2023).

HHS. 2022b. HHS’s strategic strategy to addressing social determinants of well being to advance well being fairness – at a look. (accessed November 3, 2023). 

HHS. 2023. Main care subject temporary. (accessed November 7, 2023).

HRSA (Well being Sources and Providers Administration). 2022. Main care workforce: Projections, 2020-2035. Washington, DC: Nationwide Heart for Well being Workforce Evaluation. (accessed November 3, 2023).

Jabbarpour, Y., A. Greiner, A. Jetty, A. Kempski, D. Kamerow, G. Walter, and J. Sibel. 2022. Relationships matter: How traditional is common supply of (major) care? Washington, DC: Main Care Collaborative. (accessed November 3, 2023).

Mendel, P., C. A. Gidengil, A. Tomoaia-Cotisel, S. Mann, A. J. Rose, Ok. J. Leuschner, N. Qureshi, V. Kareddy, J. L. Sousa, and D. Kim. 2021. Heath providers and first care analysis research: Complete report. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Company. (accessed November 3, 2023).

NASEM (Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Drugs). 2021. Implementing high-quality major care: Rebuilding the inspiration of well being care (Highlights). Washington, DC: The Nationwide Academies Press. (accessed November 3, 2023).

SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Providers Administration). 2023. SAMSHA’s 2023-2026 strategic plan. (accessed November 3, 2023).

Steinwald, B., P. B. Ginsburg, C. Brandt, S. Lee, and Ok. Patel. 2019. We’d like extra major care physicians: Right here’s why and the way. Washington, DC: The Brookings Establishment. (accessed November 3, 2023). 

The White Home. 2022. White Home blueprint for addressing the maternal well being disaster. (accessed November 3, 2023).


Advised Quotation

Levine, R., R. Burciaga Valdez, C. Brooks-LaSure, J. Hild, M. Tripathi, R. Tso, M. Delphin-Rittmon, and C. Johnson. 2023. The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers Is Taking Motion to Strengthen Main Care. NAM Views. Commentary, Nationwide Academy of Drugs, Washington, DC.

Creator Data

ADM Rachel Levine, MD, is the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Well being. R. Burciaga Valdez, PhD, MHSA, is Director of the Company for Healthcare Analysis and High quality. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, MPP, is Administrator, Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Providers. Jeff Hild, JD, is Appearing Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Kids and Households. Micky Tripathi, PhD, MPP, is the Nationwide Coordinator for Well being Data Know-how. Roselyn Tso, MS, is Director of the Indian Well being Service. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, is the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Psychological Well being and Substance Use. Carole Johnson, MA, is Administrator, Well being Sources and Providers Administration.

Battle-of-Curiosity Disclosures

None to reveal.


Questions or feedback ought to be directed to [email protected].


The views expressed on this paper are these of the authors and never essentially of the authors’ organizations, the Nationwide Academy of Drugs (NAM), or the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Drugs (the Nationwide Academies). The paper is meant to assist inform and stimulate dialogue. It isn’t a report of the NAM or the Nationwide Academies. Copyright by the Nationwide Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.