The Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Part of the Solution
Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine, Volume 32, Issue 4, April 2017, pages 375-377. doi:10.1007/s11606-016-3958-x
Posted on RAND.org on April 19, 2017
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Primary care is facing a shortage of providers, an issue compounded by expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and population aging. Patients often cannot find a primary care panel that is accepting new patients, most practices cannot offer same-day appointments for acute complaints, and primary care providers (PCPs) may feel increasingly "burned-out". While the ACA contains provisions to expand the pool of PCPs over time, including improved compensation for primary care relative to other specialties, this sort of incentive would take years to work, and is unlikely to fully solve the problem. Team-based care is often advanced as a solution to improve the quality, accessibility, and sustainability of primary care. A recent article suggested that full implementation of team-based care could completely address primary care shortages, without adding new physicians, by delegating tasks to other team members. This article, like many others, focused on a healthcare team consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, and nurses. However, few articles about team-based primary care focus on the role of pharmacists, or even mention them-an omission also reflected in the setup of many practices.