New Report Shows an Association Between Increased Primary Care Spending and Fewer ED Visits and Hospitalizations

July 17, 2019

Program:  Primary Care Investment

Spending on primary care varies widely at the state level—and increased primary care spending is associated with decreases in emergency department visits and hospitalizations, according to the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative’s (PCPCC) 2019 Evidence Report, Investing in Primary Care: A State-Level Analysis. The first-of-its-kind study, made possible with support from the Milbank Memorial Fund, examines primary care spending patterns at the state level—including across payer types—and the implications for patient outcomes.

Despite strong evidence that primary care is associated with the outcomes that policymakers and patients seek, such care has been chronically underfunded. The United States spends an average of 5% to 7% on primary care as a percentage of total health care spending whereas Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries average 14% spending on primary care.

This report also provides a high-level description of efforts to use state legislative and regulatory authority to measure and report on primary care spending and, in some cases, to set targets for increasing investment in primary care. Such efforts have been undertaken in 10 states, seven of which initiated their efforts in 2019.

Read the report on the PCPCC website.