Aug 7, 2017
Published in: Health Affairs , Volume 36, Number 8 (August 2017), pages 1469-1475. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0205
Posted on RAND.org on August 11, 2017
Better working conditions for clinicians and staff could help primary care practices implement delivery system innovations and help sustain the US primary care workforce. Using longitudinal surveys, we assessed the experience of clinicians and staff in 296 clinical sites that participated in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration. Participating FQHCs were expected to achieve, within three years, patient-centered medical home recognition at level 3 — the highest level possible. During 2013–14, clinicians and staff in these FQHCs reported statistically significant declines in multiple measures of professional satisfaction, work environment, and practice culture. There were no significant improvements on any surveyed measure. These findings suggest that working conditions in FQHCs have deteriorated recently. Whether findings would be similar in other primary care practices is unknown. Although we did not identify the causes of these declines, possible stressors include the adoption of health information technology, practice transformation, and increased demand for services.