The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, Implementing High-Quality Primary Care,1 correctly identified that the Biden Administration’s priority goals for heath equity and a more effective and affordable health system require a sustained initiative to strengthen the nation’s fragile primary care infrastructure. In this Viewpoint, we reconsider the promise of the Primary Care Extension Program to strengthen and ensure access to high-quality primary care. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)2 originally directed the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish the program; however, Congress did not appropriate funds to make it operational.
Whole person health is a person-centered, integrated approach to health care that focuses on health creation and well-being by incorporating patients’ goals into their health care.
The current committee on transforming health care to create whole health: strategies to assess, scale, and spread the whole person approach to health, will examine the whole health approach and recommend future directions and priorities for scaling a whole health system of care at the Department of Veterans Affairs and in other settings caring for veterans.
There is increasing pressure on frontline clinicians, particularly those in primary care, to assess patients for social needs — for instance, poverty, housing instability, food insecurity, and unemployment — which can be potent drivers of health outcomes. While identifying these needs is important, without resources to address them directly or the ability to partner with community-based organizations, clinicians are left powerless. Being pushed to assess without resources can be a source of frustration and burnout for clinicians who are motivated to help their patients.