Reforming the payment model UAB’s Comprehensive Urban Underserved and Rural Experience is designed to do exactly that. By providing support, training, clinical experience and other resources specifically for medical students who want to pursue a career in primary care and practice in underserved areas, the program is developing a future generation of primary care physicians. The program supports and hopes to grow pipeline programs that reach students in college, high school and even earlier to build interest in primary care and family medicine. Looking at the business side of American health care, Asif emphasized the importance of moving from a fee-for-service model to a capitated or value-based model.
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In Alabama and elsewhere, a shortage of primary care physicians halts the access to timely care. Growing the primary care pipeline
“Access to health care is a major issue,” Asif said. “Some of the things we need to think about are how we can increase the pipeline of folks who are able to increase access and the pipeline of primary care providers.” Irfan Asif, M.D., shares tools that can positively change the landscape of American health care.Nationwide, the overburdening of the health care system, particularly in rural or urban underserved areas, makes it more difficult for patients to access timely, high-quality care. Last month, Irfan Asif, M.D., professor and chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Family and Community Medicine and associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, shared strategies with “The Hill,” a Washington D.C.-based media company, for improving access to health care in the United States.
Utilizing digital tools Although COVID stretched and reshaped the health care workforce, Asif points to an increase in the use of telemedicine as a silver lining. Capitated or value-based payment systems, Asif says, might compel more physicians to pursue primary care and family medicine as specialties, helping to address current shortages of primary care providers in the United States.
“If we have a fee-for-service model, we are not actually incentivizing providers to prevent disease, and we are incentivizing people to go into professions where they are treating disease rather than trying to prevent it,” Asif said. “We need a system where primary care is incentivized. I think that is the backbone of what we need to work toward.” In a capitated model, providers are paid a fixed amount per patient by an insurer or physician’s association, regardless of how often that patient seeks care. In a value-based model, providers are paid based on improvement in patient health outcomes and the quality of care they provide.
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