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New law seeks to boost primary care in the First State

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Delaware Public Media
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Gov. John Carney signs a bill addressing primary care in Delaware.

The legislation implements a series of healthcare reforms to help strengthen primary care and improve its value.

 

  It limits some increases on inpatient, outpatient, and other medical services to certain percentages.

It requires an insurance carrier to spend a certain percentage of its total cost on primary care.

The new law also directs the Health Care Commission to monitor compliance with value-based care delivery models and develop and monitor compliance with alternative payment methods that promote value-based care.

State Sen.Brian Townsend (D-Newark) was the bill’s main sponsor.  He says this makes it clear the priority is to keep people healthy.

"And the way to do that is to invest more in primary care," said Townsend. "Keep people healthy on the front end rather than just waiting for people to be unhealthy on the back end, but I don't know anywhere in the country where it just happens magically. Particularly in the state like Delaware we're small, we have high concentration in the insurance industry, we have high concentration in the hospital sector, and there's upsides to that, but one of the challenges from that is that we don't necessarily have some of the forces working towards primary care in the way that we need to."

State Rep. David Bentz (D-Christiana) is one of the bill’s sponsors, and says these reforms were needed.

"We started this with this vision of primary care was struggling, practices were struggling, access to it was declining, and all of that was happening at a time when healthcare costs were growing," said Bentz. "Despite the fact that primary care is that access point, that best value for every dollar spent in healthcare and that's where we should be focusing a lot of our dollars."

Townsend notes there is a sunset provision that allows the General Assembly to revisit the law in 2027 to see if it’s working.

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