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. In 2023, 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 Independence Care System (ICS) a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, ICS will establish a Center of Excellence for primary care for people with disabilities at Woodhull Hospital, evaluate its impact, and support replication across the New York City Health + Hospitals (H+H) system and beyond. ICS will conduct focus groups in Brooklyn with 100 patients with physical disabilities to identify specific care needs and experiences with primary care providers. It will adjust care protocols based on patient feedback and evidence-based practices, and it will improve Electronic Medical Record documentation to better identify patients’ needs for accommodation. ICS will train primary care providers, clinical staff, and administrative staff and offer on-site consultation to support the delivery of more accessible and equitable care. In partnership with leading national researchers, ICS will analyze the model’s impact on enhancing uptake of screenings and preventive care, reducing hospitalization, and improving patient health outcomes. It will create resources to enable replication across H+H, including policies and procedures, disability competency training curriculum, and continuing education opportunities. It will also disseminate learnings through peer-reviewed publications and online patient and provider educational resources.