Primary care practice transformation introduces different staff types

May 12, 2020

The Comprehensive Primary Care initiative was launched in 2012 by the CMS Innovation Center as a four-year multi-payer initiative designed to strengthen primary care. This study examines shifts in staffing patterns, from 2012 to 2016, at 461 primary care practices participating in the CPC transformation initiative with those at 358 non-CPC practices.

Over the four years of the study, CPC practices moved away from a traditional staffing model of physicians with medical assistants as they added a variety of new staff, most commonly care managers or coordinators and behavioral health staff, to support patients with comprehensive, team-based care. Non-CPC practices, by comparison, did not increase their team size or diversity as much as CPC practices did. For example, in 2016, 84% of CPC practices had care managers or care coordinators, but only 36% of comparison practices had them.

The authors suggest that future studies should examine the effect of team-based care and staff composition on health care cost, service utilization, patient experience and the overall sustainability of new staffing models. In addition, future work should also address how practices make decisions about augmenting staff in response to patients' medical and social needs.
Primary Care Practice Transformation Introduces Different Staff Types
Kaylyn E. Swankoski, MA, et al
Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, New Jersey

American Academy of Family Physicians

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