May 18, 2021
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On May 18, 2021, NYSHealth hosted a webinar discussion about how strengthening primary care can be a pathway to COVID-19 recovery.
Primary care is the foundation of a high-functioning, high-quality, and equitable health care system. Research shows that increased access to primary care is associated with fewer hospital visits, emergency department visits, and surgeries. Yet, primary care represents only an estimated 5–7% of health care spending in the United States.
At the same time, New York neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19—those with a higher proportion of patients of color and low-income residents, as well as higher rates of chronic disease—are the same neighborhoods that have poor access to primary care. The need for primary care is expected to increase significantly following the pandemic, particularly in communities with disparities in acute and chronic illnesses.
Maura Harris, M.P.H., Policy and Advocacy Manager, Primary Care Development Corporation, spoke about how primary care can play a stronger role in building back a better health care system in New York. She discussed how COVID-19 has impacted primary care practices; examined COVID-19 disparities in New York City as they relate to primary care access; and shared lessons learned from states that increased primary care investments.