In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Basu and colleagues1 report that greater density of primary care physicians is associated with better population health in the United States. Their findings are consistent with an extensive body of literature linking access to primary care with better individual- and population-level health outcomes. Unfortunately, their study also confirms that the primary care workforce is maldistributed, with many rural communities having no primary care physicians. To increase access to primary care, especially in underserved areas, we must align incentives to attract individuals into primary care practice, innovate primary care training, and greatly improve the primary care practice model. Physician payment reform is a key to making all of this happen.
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Zabar S, Wallach A, Kalet A. The Future of Primary Care in the United States Depends on Payment Reform. JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 18, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.7623
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