Expert Panel Discusses Future of Primary Care at PCDC Annual Summit

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NEW YORK  – The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) hosted its signature Innovation Circle event, the Annual Summit last week, harnessing expert opinions to address the health care issues at the center of our national discourse. The event, “Primary Care Under the New Administration,” was held at the New York Academy of Sciences in lower Manhattan and drew nearly 250 attendees.

innov-circle-logo_annual-summit_outline “The presidential transition has opened the door to a flood of questions that will likely affect our ability to access and afford life-saving preventive and chronic care services,” said Louise Cohen, MPH, PCDC Chief Executive Officer and moderator for the event. “For this Innovation Circle, we wanted attendees to come away with a better understanding of the stakes involved with actions such as the repeal of ACA, and what that could mean for primary and safety-net care.”

The discussion was led by panelists Deborah Bachrach, JD, from Manatt Health, Jorge Petit, MD, from Beacon Health Options, John Rugge, MD, from Hudson Headwaters Health Network, and Cynthia Summers, DrPH, MPH, of The Guttmacher Institute. Each panelist brought a unique background in health care; combined, they were able to speak to high-priority issues such as health policy, delivery system reform, women’s reproductive health rights, and behavioral and mental health integration.

During the event, Ms. Bachrach introduced the notion of coverage as the foundation of health care, saying, “Without coverage, there are no services.” Using her deep experience in health policy, she drew a picture of how a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could play out in Congress, and what a replacement could potentially look like.

Each of the other three panelists provided their thoughts on the value of primary care in the current system and the damage that could be done by repealing ACA. Dr. Summers noted the millions of women who currently receive contraceptive coverage through ACA, which is at risk under the plans that have been proposed so far. Dr. Rugge suggested that federally qualified health centers – a valuable source of care for the poor and uninsured – do not have the capacity to keep up with an explosion of uninsured Americans. Dr. Petit, a practicing psychiatrist, worried about the reversal of progress toward mental health parity and ACA requirements that have benefitted patients seeking behavioral health care.

A common theme from the night was the need for continued, open dialogue with primary care practices and policymakers to ensure understanding of and guide changes to the health care landscape.

The Primary Care Innovation Circle was generously sponsored by athenahealth and Proskauer Rose, LLP. The Primary Care Innovation Circle brings together health care leaders to offer fresh perspectives on challenges facing the industry. Past events have tackled issues such as private sector and social investment in primary care, payment reform, workforce challenges, delivery system reform and the sustainability of the medical home model.

For more information about the Primary Care Innovation Circle, and for follow-up information related to the event, visit

About PCDC

Founded in 1993, the Primary Care Development Corporation is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that catalyzes excellence in primary care through strategic community investment, capacity building, and policy initiatives to achieve health equity. To date, PCDC has helped over 1,000 primary care practices in 34 states to improve delivery of care by providing capital as well as training and technical assistance services. Since its founding, PCDC has leveraged over $800 million on projects that enhance capacity in low-income communities. In 2016, PCDC received a AAA+2 rating from Aeris, an independent community investment rating agency.