California Study Links Increased Primary Care Spending To Better Outcomes

Greater investment in primary care is linked to better quality care and fewer hospital visits, a new study of California health plans has found.

The study, released by the California Health Care Foundation, “Investing in Primary Care: Why It Matters for Californians with Commercial Coverage,” was sponsored by a coalition of groups and looked at data from state eight health plans, covering 80% of commercially insured adults in the state—13.9 million Californians. The study also examined primary care spending of 180 provider organizations, including data from 8.5 million adults in HMO plans, which is nearly half of the state’s commercially insured adults.

The researchers concluded that if provider organizations that showed lower spending on primary care matched those who spent more, 25,000 acute hospital stays, and 89,000 emergency room visits could be avoided. Overall, $2.4 billion in overall health savings could be seen in a single year, the study’s authors found.



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