Research continues to show that primary care is critical to the health of individuals, improves health outcomes, and is associated with a more equitable distribution of health in populations.(1) Patients who identified a primary care physician as their usual source of care had lower five-year mortality rates than patients who identified a specialist physician as their usual source of care. The populations of countries with higher ratings of “primary care orientation” experience better health outcomes and incur lower health care costs than populations in countries with lower degrees of primary care orientation. Primary care spending lags in the United States compared to similar investment in most other high-income countries.(2) Across payers, including both public and private insurance, primary care spending in the United States amounts to approximately five to eight percent of all health spending, (3) with an even lower percentage in Medicare, (4) compared to approximately fourteen percent of all health spending in most high-income nations. Nations with greater investment in primary care reported better patient outcomes and lower health care costs.1 Significant variation in primary care investment also exists within the states, as states with higher levels of investment also report better patient outcomes. (5)
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UDOH - Primary Care Spend Calculation Project
The Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Care Statistics (OHCS) produced this primary care spend report for the Utah Academy of Family Physicians (UAFP). In late 2020, the Office of Health Care Statistics was tasked with using the Utah All Payer Claims Database (APCD) to calculate the total amount of spending on primary health care services as a percentage of all healthcare expenditures, using data from 2018 and 2019 as two separate calculations, while using the Maine Quality Forum’s definition of primary care. (1) As part of this project, OHCS was also tasked with providing the UAFP with a description of the methodology used to perform the calculations, a description of the limitations, a breakout of primary care spending across payer types for each year, and a breakout by age cohorts and outcomes data for the aforementioned years, leveraging the Utah Healthcare Facility Database.
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