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Key Messages for Advocating the Importance of Primary Care and Primary Care Research

The overall health of a population is directly linked to the strength of its primary health care system. A strong primary care system delivers higher quality of care and better health for less cost.

Primary care provides a “medical home” and considers the whole person, as they exist in family, community, and population, including multiple illnesses, preventive care, health promotion, and the integration of mind and body.

Primary care is:

  • Complex and comprehensive
  • Where most people first bring their symptoms and health concerns and have their first touch with the health care system
  • Where people develop healing, trusting relationships with their physician and other primary care providers

Primary care research includes:

  • Translating science into the practice of medicine and caring for patients
  • Translating science into the practice of medicine and caring for patients
  • Understanding how to better organize health care to meet patient and population needs
  • Evaluating innovations to provide the best health care to patients
  • Engaging patients, communities, and practices to improve health

The majority of health care takes place in primary care practices.

And yet, the majority of research funding supports research of one specific

disease, organ system, cellular or chemical process – not for primary care.

Very little is known about important topics such as how primary care services are best organized, how to maximize and prioritize care, how to introduce and disseminate new discoveries so they work in real life, and how patients can best decide how and when to seek care.

We call for additional funds to be allocated to primary care research to be used for. 

Download a copy of the Key Messages.

 




Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Update
  - March 11, 2016

AHRQ is still at risk. AHRQ survived last year because the final budget agreement raised the total funding caps. This year, House republicans are working to reduce those budget caps again. Even without a new, smaller budget agreement, there will be desire to fund other priorities such as higher levels for NIH, additional new spending for opioid abuse programs, etc.—all causing a draw on the the same finite pool of funds. 

We need to work even harder to ensure AHRQ gets funding this year, at least to its former 2015 fiscal year spending level of $364 million. One of the consequences of reduced funding was the halting of research to optimize care for patients with multiple chronic conditions (MCC). The initiative would have provided clinicians with evidence-based tools to develop comprehensive, integrated care plans that reflect the patients' health conditions, values, preferences, and relevant life circumstances. The tools would have also shown how new care models and services may better serve their patients' needs. 

Without an increase in funding to at least the 2015 fiscal year level of $364 million, AHRQ will continue to have to halt or postpone the production of tools primary care health professionals need. 

It is our recommendation that Congress should provide no less than $364 million in appropriated funds for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to support research vital to primary care in the 2017 fiscal year. You can help by contacting key house and senate leaders serving on the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee in your state. Below are some resources to help you advocate for AHRQ funding.

Advocacy Resources:


Letters to Funding Agencies

NAPCRG shared its views on the essential direction funding agencies should take when determining priorities in primary care research.  Letters outlining these priorities were sent to leadership at major funding agencies in both the U.S. and Canada.