PCAC is a consortium of practicing primary care doctors and nurse practitioners who advocate taking a larger role in medical reform to promote a sensible health care delivery system. Primary care providers are trained to tackle a wide range of complex medical problems, are able to assess and treat patients hollistically, and have close relationships with their patients. We understand the health care delivery system and how it best promotes quality, low cost care. There is no group better positioned to craft effective reform and to lead efforts to improve our medical system. We hope to work with the Lown Institute to help make medical care sensible again.
Current health care reform through Medicare and the ACA is being scripted by politicians, thought leaders, and big business, all of which is pushing medical care down a precarious and expensive road. Practicing primary care providers should be the linchpins of any successful health care reform efforts, and yet we are left out of all such efforts. 85% of practicing primary care doctors feel that they have no impact on their medical environment, and all of us are feeling the pinch of "reforms" that have added cost and time burdens to our practices at the detriment of quality patient care. We are getting burned out and frustrated. Reformers require us to adhere to a huge array of quality indicators, none of which has been demonstrated to reflect true quality, and many of which lead to unnecessary busy work that detracts from the care of our patients. Meanwhile, reformers have not tackled the real drivers of high cost, low quality health care in our system--an excessive reliance on hospitalization, specialization, testing, invasive procedures, and medication use. Especially for the elderly, home-based palliative care has been demonstrated to be the most beneficial, cost-effective, and prefered means of providing medical services, and yet insurances such as Medicare will not pay for comprehensive home care, a reality that has not been addressed in current reform efforts.
In addition, studies conclusively demonstrate that the presence of robust primary care translates to better outcomes, higher satisfaction, and lower cost. We of the PCAC believe that if you fill a room with practicing primary care providers of every political stripe and from any part of the country, both physicians and nurse practitioners, we will be able to orchestrate common sense changes in Medicare and the ACA that will enable providers and patients to engage in the type of health care we all want. It is time that practicing primary care providers take a central role in health care reform, and PCAC is being established to assure that is what will occur.
What is the PCAC strategy to impact change?
At PCAC we believe there is power in numbers. Primary care providers represent the nexus of health care delivery, and yet we have no organizations that represent us. While several medical societies from AFP to ACP to SGIM to AMDA are composed of primary care doctors, all are separate, and no global entity speaks for the vast majority of practicing primary care providers nor do any groups incorporate both nurse practitioners and primary care physicians under one umbrella. We are thus a silent voice with no bargaining power and no ability to reach the ears of those who matter the most. Once we at PCAC demonstrate that we can attract large numbers of primary care providers, and once we prove that we can develop consensus positions to which a large majority of our membership adheres, then we can speak as a unified voice to Congress, to State legislators, to CMS, to the press, to AARP, and to so many other groups and organizations who are scripting our professional lives. Our goals and strategies are outlined on subsequent pages, and as a group we will be as flexible as is needed to help drive pragmatic and effective changes in the health care system.
What is the Lown Institute, and what is our relationship to Lown?
The Lown Institute is a national organization of health care providers and patients who advocate for a better and more accessible health care delivery system for all, and support measures to reduce medical harm and overtreatment. While PCAC is not directly affiliated with Lown, we hope that all of our members will work with Lown and sign the Rightcare Alliance pledge. We would like our agenda to mirror and, ultimately, be endorsed by Lown. Having an influential national organization that champions the cause of primary care and works to improve our nation's bloated health care system can only help our own objectives. Click the Lown logo above to learn more about the organization and to sign up.
What are my obligations and potential roles I can play when I join PCAC?.
As a PCAC member you can do as little or as much as you want. Simply signing up accomplishes a great deal, as you have expanded the power of the group. But because we are a new group that is growing, we are also looking for doctors and nurse practitioners to take leadership roles, to help with creating strategies and making contacts, and to form a a vibrant and influential group. No PCAC member has to pay dues or take on any specific role. Because we are all practicing primary care providers, we have limited time and resources to devote to yet another activity. That is why we will minimize meetings and communicate electronically. That is why we will always ask our members for input, but never make any demands on time. For those who want to do more, there are ample opportunities both locally and nationally to advocate for change. The more of us who are willing to contribute, the more effective our group will be. Please sign up using the contact form, and let us know if you do want to do more.
How will PCAC get started and what are its initial objectives?
Once we have a working committee, we will establish positions and roles. As a first task, we will set up specific objectives that we would like to accomplish within the next year, and then devise various strategies by which we can achieve those goals. All ideas will be presented to the entire PCAC group before being officially endorsed. As we grow we will need people to take on more defined roles, we will have to establish more solid contacts in various organizations and the media, and we will develop various novel ways to express our views firmly. In many ways, our success will depend on the depth and devotion of our membership, and our strategies will continue to evolve. Ultimately we would like to work with the Lown Institute, especially with their primary care committee, while also helping to create a nurse practitioner committee within the organization.
See subsequent pages to learn about our general goals and strategies.