Tax Advantaged Healthcare Financing Benefits
When congressional efforts to reduce the deficit result in widespread budget cuts, it can be difficult to petition for more federal funding, even for a worthy cause. Subsidizing primary care providers, however, is not just an excellent way to improve the health of underserved populations across the country. It’s an investment with significant financial returns.
When it comes to public health, income inequality creates a vicious cycle. People who can’t afford primary care are often left to treat health issues reactively rather than proactively, seeking emergency room care on an as-needed basis rather than making regular appointments for check-ups to preempt predictable complications. It’s no secret that emergency room bills are costly, and a one-time visit to a clinic won’t maintain a patient’s health long-term. Primary care addresses all the factors that contribute to personal health and well-being from childhood through old age. It includes medical, dental, behavioral, and pharmacy services as well as screening, diagnosis, and treatment. By taking preventative measures, access to primary care makes for healthier communities that ultimately spend less on medical bills.
Sufficient funding is not only important to patients, but also to primary care providers themselves. Higher salaries and employer-established reimbursements for medical professionals working in primary care help improve retention in a profession that otherwise sees high staff turnover. The Provider Recruitment and Retention (PR&R) Financing Program, for example, enables community health centers (CHCs) to either recruit new providers or retain staff through alternative “loan-forgiveness/performance-incentive” financing. We ensure that each federal dollar at a client’s disposal is used as effectively as possible while minimizing the debt they accrue.
Increased funding also contributes to improved staff performance. With sufficient support, healthcare professionals can seek training not just in the basics of medicine, but also in the more personal side of care. That’s why, through our capacity building programs, PCDC has trained and coached more than 9,000 health workers to deliver superior patient-centered care. We have also assisted more than 475 primary care practices to achieve Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition, improving care for more than 5 million patients nationwide.
With a greater quality and quantity of doctors and improved accessibility to primary care for patients, a community benefits overall. Community health centers are economic engines, bringing direct and indirect growth to some of the country’s most financially deprived neighborhoods. They create stable jobs with room for advancement: Federally Qualified Health Centers employ more than 200,000 people nationwide. They build social, financial, and health equity, which benefits our nation as a whole.
Between decreasing medical bills and creating jobs, subsidizing primary care centers in underserved communities is a smart choice, even from a strictly economic perspective. This takes a small leap of faith, however. While investing in primary care saves money in the long run, costs of primary care will have to increase before the cost of total care can decrease. The fact that it takes faith, however, doesn’t mean it’s a risk. We’ve seen time and time again that developing primary care is an investment with more than ample returns.