Concierge Medicine Today

Washington State Driving Primary Care Transformation; Leading Experts Cite Washington as “Hotspot” of Reform

Seattle, Washington, March 19, 2015 – Family Medicine for America’s Health, a partnership of eight leading family medicine organizations in the United States, today brought together physicians from both private practice and academia who are revolutionizing health care delivery in Washington State. Moderated by author, documentary filmmaker and reporter T.R. Reid, the roundtable discussion featured local stories of primary care innovation and transformation that are improving health care delivery, leading to better outcomes in patient and population health.

“The state of Washington is a national hotspot for innovations that are changing the face of primary care, improving patients’ health and reducing the cost of care,” said Glen Stream, MD, MBI, chair, Family Medicine for America’s Health board of directors and panelist at today’s event. “The state’s thriving primary care community has developed new models of patient care and is expanding the primary care workforce to deliver this care.”

Washington State is the home of the University of Washington WWAMI Network of family medicine programs, the largest producer of family physicians in the country. Universities, local businesses and primary care practices are collaborating across the state to improve the health of their communities. Some of the case studies featured at today’s event included:

  • National leader in direct primary care: Qliance, founded in Seattle, is using a patient focus and innovative payment model to dramatically improve patient and physician satisfaction while reducing costs by 20 percent.
  • Novel accountable care partnership for Medicare Advantage patients: Iora Health, a local primary care practice dedicated to seniors is improving health with integrated care teams that include doctors, nurses, health coaches, medication management, behavioral health and social service resources.
  • Primary care training programs for underserved areas: University of Washington School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine offers students a Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST) to strengthen the primary care pipeline in underserved and rural areas across the five-state WWAMI region. Similarly, Community Health of Central Washington trains residents to provide comprehensive, community-based and continuous ambulatory care to medically underserved patients representative of the cultural, socio-economic and demographic diversity of Central Washington.
  • Group visits for patients with chronic disease: Devin Sawyer, an Olympia-based family doctor, is using planned care and group visits to treat patients with diabetes. His patients had lower blood sugars, maintained over time, and lower cholesterol readings than the clinical average. These patients were also twice as likely to engage in self-management and goal setting compared to patients seen individually.
  • Partnership between a large hospital system and a non-profit clinic:  With payment models shifting to reward value over volume, Swedish Medical Center provided financial support to non-profit Country Doctor Community Health Centers to establish an after-hours clinic adjacent to the hospital’s emergency room. This arrangement, which focuses on caring for underserved patients, provides a lower-cost alternative to the emergency department and helps link patients without a physician to a primary care medical home.

Participating panelists included:

  • Glen Stream, MD, FAAFP,MBI, chair, Family Medicine for America’s Health board of directors
  • Erika Bliss, MD, FAAFP, President and Chief Executive Officer, Qliance
  • Carroll Haymon, MD, Iora Primary Care
  • Richard Kovar, MD, Medical Director, Country Doctor Community Health Centers
  • Russell Maier, MD, Program Director, Central Washington Family Medicine Residency
  • Thomas E. Norris, MD, FAAFP, Chair, University of Washington Department of Family Medicine
  • Devin R. Sawyer, MD, Program Director, Providence St. Peter Family Medicine Residency Program

Today’s event is part of Health is Primary, Family Medicine for America’s Health’s multi-year national campaign to demonstrate the value of primary care. It is the first in a series of events the campaign will host across the country to raise awareness about the need for a strong primary care-based health care system.

About Family Medicine for America’s Health

Family Medicine for America’s Health, the organization behind Health is Primary, is a new collaboration between the nation’s eight leading family medicine organizations to drive continued improvement of the U.S. health care system and demonstrate the value of true primary care.

We represent:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians;
  • American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation;
  • American Board of Family Medicine;
  • American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians;
  • Association of Departments of Family Medicine;
  • Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors
  • North American Primary Care Research Group; and
  • Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

Contact: Ann Saybolt, / 703.969.2859 or Kirsten Thistle, / 301.802.4567.

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