Primary care is often a patient’s first and most regular point of contact with the health care system.
High-quality primary care provides ongoing, relationship-based care that meets the health needs and preferences of individuals, families, and communities, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It is a rare “win-win” in health care that improves individual and community health, enhances health equity, and saves money. Despite the benefits, too little is invested in primary care and too many New Yorkers, especially New Yorkers of color, have difficulty getting care when and where they need it. NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “Primary Care: Expanding Access and Advancing Racial Health Equity,” to test replicable models to improve the accessibility, quality, and equity of primary care in regions across the State. NYHealth awarded Open Door Family Medical Center a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, Open Door will conduct a feasibility study to open a federally qualified health center (FQHC) location to expand access to primary care in Delaware County, a rural shortage area. It will partner with existing social and health service providers and a community advisory group to identify sites suitable for an FQHC and forecast costs associated with site renovation and initial clinic operation. Open Door will engage Delaware County residents to understand their care needs, barriers to health care access, and acceptance of non-physician-led care teams, in light of health professional shortages in the region. To address these workforce shortages, Open Door and partners will investigate the feasibility of a nurse-led care model, in which nurse practitioners serve as the lead primary care providers. Open Door will also cultivate partnerships with training programs for nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and medical assistants to provide tailored education on rural, community-based primary care and create pipelines into the FQHC setting.