Washington, January 22, 2007 -- Sweeping policy proposals to advance patient-centered primary care were released today by the American College of Physicians (ACP) in its annual report on The State of the Nation's Health Care. ACP's proposals will fundamentally change the way that primary care is organized, delivered, financed, and valued.
The U.S. health care system is facing a collapse of primary care medicine, the ACP reported in its January 2006 State of the Nation's Health Care report. Very few new physicians are going into primary care and many of those currently in practice are leaving the field or are planning to retire in the near future. The result of this collapse of primary care will be higher costs, lower quality, diminished access, and decreased patient satisfaction.
ACP, today, proposed a bold solution to this looming collapse: a patient-centered health care system. This model of health care delivery has been proven to result in better quality, more efficient use of resources, reduced utilization, and higher patient satisfaction.
"Many U.S. physicians already are providing some of the characteristics of patient-centered care, but few provide all of them," said Lynne M. Kirk, MD, FACP, president of ACP. "In comparison, many other industrialized countries have made a deliberate policy decision to build their health care systems around patient-centered care, and physicians in those countries are far more likely to report that they have all or most of the characteristics associated with patient-centered care."
Patient-centered health care is a system that builds upon the relationship between patients and their primary and principal care physicians and supports the systems needed to achieve better results. Patient-centered health care provides: