Delaware HHS Secretary Kara Odom Walker on Meeting Her State’s Primary Care Needs

Milbank State Leadership Network Primary Care Transformation State Health Policy Leadership Primary Care Investment

Primary care workforce challenges are particularly acute in Delaware, a small state with high per-person heath care spending but poor outcomes on measures such as oral health, infant mortality, and obesity rates. Yet, in a new Milbank Quarterly early-view guest opinion, Delaware’s Health and Human Services Secretary Kara Odom Walker, a family physician, says that any solution that lowers costs and improves quality will require a foundation of enhanced primary care.

Walker outlines the steps she and other state leaders have taken to establish a health care spending growth benchmark, track quality measures, and increase investment in primary care, as well as communicate with providers and consumers.

“Through better data, focused investments, and transparent engagement, with a strong communications plan and measured optimism, Delaware will seek a multipronged strategy to manage its small population of high-risk patients and to collaborate with communities to improve primary prevention,” Walker says.