On the last day of the legislative session, New York State took a big step forward to rebalance its health system by emphasizing and investing in primary and preventive care. Both the State Senate and Assembly have enacted legislation to establish a primary care reform commission. Primary care is a rare “win-win” for health care: it’s associated with both better health and lower costs. We know from other states’ experience that dedicating a larger share of health care dollars to primary care can increase access to care, address health care workforce shortages, and improve health equity. Yet we chronically underinvest in primary care; it accounts for only 5–7% of total health care spending.
New York now can strengthen and invest more in primary care without increasing the total cost of health care. The newly authorized commission will give us a roadmap to do just that: it will define and measure New York’s baseline spending on primary care, set targets for enhanced investments in primary care, and test out pilot programs to identify the most promising models.
The Foundation is enormously proud of our grantee—the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC)—which conceived of the idea, did the research, and tirelessly advocated to make it happen. We applaud Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, who championed this legislation as a capstone to his 52-year tenure fighting in the Assembly to improve New York’s health system. We thank Senator Gustavo Rivera for his passionate leadership and sponsorship in the Senate.
We stand ready to partner with PCDC, State officials, and all others who are working to build back a better health system for New York.
David Sandman, Ph.D.
President and CEO
New York Health Foundation