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Conference Proceedings: Who Will Provide Primary Care And How Will They Be Trained?

Linda Cronenwett, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Victor J. Dzau, MD

Publication type: Foundation Publication

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Abundant evidence shows that healthcare systems with a strong primary care component provide high-quality, accessible, and efficient care. People want primary care providers with whom they can have ongoing relationships. They want to know that when they need help, they have access to someone with knowledge of their health problems and their individual characteristics.

Despite evidence supporting these facts, the healthcare system in the United States has not developed or valued a strong primary care sector, though there are excellent examples of primary care to be found in many regions. The lack of a strong primary care infrastructure across the nation has had significant consequences for access, quality, continuity, and cost of care in this country. It also has had consequences for our health profession educational enterprise and the healthcare workforce, resulting in numbers and geographic distributions of primary care providers that are insufficient to meet current or projected needs.

The Macy conference, “Who Will Provide Primary Care and How Will They Be Trained?” assembled a remarkably accomplished and diverse group of professionals to address one of the most critical problems in healthcare in the country. All participants felt a heavy responsibility to put aside professional, organizational, or institutional biases to engage in a frank dialogue that could lead to consensus recommendations that would be in the public’s interest. And that is exactly what happened.