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U.S. primary care seen lagging in key markers

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MD Edge, March 2022

If the nation’s primary care system were a patient, it would be in critical condition, researchers have found. In delivery of primary care, including access and coordination, the U.S. trails well behind 10 other wealthy countries, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.

The document, released March 15, concludes that the shortcomings in the U.S. system – from a lack of a relationship with a primary care physician to unequal access to after-hours care – “disproportionately affect Black and Latinx communities and rural areas, exacerbating disparities that have widened during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This report really shows that the U.S. is falling behind. We know that a strong primary care system yields better health outcomes. We have a lot to learn from other high-income countries,” coauthor Munira Z. Gunja, MPH, a senior researcher for the Commonwealth Fund’s International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovations, told this news organization. “At baseline, we really need to make sure that everyone has health insurance in this country so they can actually use primary care services, and we need to increase the supply of those services.”

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