Primary Care, COVID-19, and Community Health

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A Special Briefing for New York State Policymakers and Stakeholders

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
2p.m. to 3p.m.


Richard Gottfried@DickGottfried
Chair, New York State Assembly Health Committee
Gustavo Rivera@NYSenatorRivera
Chair, New York State Senate Health Committee
Lalita Abhyankar, MD, MHS – @L_Abhyankar
Attending Family Physician, Institute for Family Health
Navarra Rodriguez, MD – @ACPNY
President and Chief Medical Officer, Advantage Care Physicians
John Rugge, MD – @HudsHeadwaters
Executive Chairman and Founder, Hudson Headwaters Health Network
Louise Cohen, MPH – @LouiseCohen
CEO, Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC)

As New York continues to reopen, New Yorkers are struggling more than ever to access the essential primary health care services they need to stay healthy. Join the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera, community health providers, and policy leaders in a special policy briefing on how COVID-19 has exacerbated health disparities and increased challenges to accessing and delivering primary care services including vaccinations, disease screening and management, and other preventative care. The conversation will provide insights into key policy strategies to make smart investments in primary care to keep our communities healthy while increasing health care affordability and access as New York emerges from the pandemic.


Due to COVID-19 challenges, many primary care providers closed their doors or scaled back their hours, and many may not return to pre-COVID levels. Total visits are down, even as telehealth has gained a foothold. People are forgoing essential primary care services such as vaccinations, managing chronic conditions such as asthma, depression, and heart disease, and screening for diabetes, cancer, and substance use.

Over many years, the lack of access – and investment– in primary care and prevention have led to rising health care costs and mounting rates of chronic illnesses, leaving many communities especially vulnerable in the pandemic. Communities of color, often living in places where there are fewer primary care doctors, have been exceptionally hard hit by COVID-19.

In a briefing for policymakers and stakeholders hosted by the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) and with an introduction from Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, community health providers and primary care professionals will share perspectives on the importance of primary care in New York State, the challenges primary care providers have faced in the wake of COVID-19, and policy solutions to strengthen primary care, enhance services, and address disparities in health care access and outcomes.


PCDC’s COVID-19 Resources

Through advocacy, investment, and quality transformation, PCDC is committed to helping create the system we need. Learn more about PCDC’s financing options, training and technical assistance services, and tips for implementing telehealth.