Funder: The Commonwealth Fund

Author: Nikki Highsmith and Julia Berenson, Center for Health Care Strategies

March 2011 | Report


The Affordable Care Act presents Medicaid with significant opportunities to redesign the primary care delivery system to achieve better outcomes and more cost-effective care. In particular, small practices that serve large numbers of Medicaid beneficiaries can benefit from access to a network of shared resources.

Driving Value in Medicaid Primary Care: The Role of Shared Support Networks for Physician Practices explores strategies for providing shared resources to small, typically under-resourced physician practices that serve a high volume of Medicaid patients. Types of services that can be shared include: coverage for evening and weekend appointments; patient registry reports and panel management services; electronic systems for ordering, receiving, and tracking tests; and the use of nonphysician staff to help manage care.

Based on interviews with experts and the authors’ policy analysis, the paper addresses:

  • Essential components of practice supports;
  • Strategies for Medicaid to purchase, or catalyze providers to invest in, such supports;
  • Opportunities to connect physicians who work in small independent practices to create networks;
  • Financing options for shared practice supports; and
  • Policy recommendations for advancing primary care.

States seeking to transform primary care delivery for Medicaid beneficiaries can consider shared practice supports to increase physician and patient satisfaction, achieve better outcomes, and improve efficiency.