Primary care comprises health providers in the private and government-sponsored institutions that offer health care to the public. On the other hand, public health is a government health regulator that shapes the community’s health. Collaboration between primary care and public health care is bound to yield greater health delivery success and breaking the gap between the two bodies. Local and state agencies can foster a mutual relationship between public health and primary care by crafting formal and informal agreements that pledge the loyalty of coordination from the parties. For instance, Louisiana’s Medicaid care associations should coordinate their operations with the Office of Public Health through agreements. Additionally, primary care and the public can work better if a central governance structure is implemented. Shared governance can be achieved by giving public health officials a higher authority on the governing board to direct providers towards a common goal.
The state and local governments can also mold a stronger relationship in health organizations by sharing statistics and health care data. Implementation of strategies that encourage information sharing can bring health providers and public health into common grounds. For instance, epidemiologists can detect gaps in the population and help health providers enhance their health programs. Moreover, state and local agencies can develop programs that recognize public health and primary care that ensure high standards of health. The plans should publicize, certify, and provide marketing incentives to health organizations that work with the integration standards. The agencies can also neutralize the difference between health providers and public health through systems of levers. The levers include availing grant opportunities and forming joint accountability expectations for both primary care and public health to eliminate disparities (Taylor et al., 2016).
According to O’Gurek et al. (2015), the education system needs to undergo some reforms to shape a new unity culture. The graduate and undergraduate medical curriculum should equip learners with tools essential for a quality population health. The curriculum should prepare learners to integrate roles played by the public and primary care by exposing them to the basics of population health. The local and state government should also encourage medical stakeholders to play individual roles of creating awareness of integration and working collaboratively. Provision of training and technical assistance to the health organizations can also guide them in offering quality care. Furthermore, a stronger connection can be forged if health providers invest financially in public health facilities since they earn an influence on population health status.
The amalgamation of primary care and public health improves the patients’ health and makes society safer for Americans. Collaboration also simplifies the realization of health objectives for both parties as opposed to when they work independently. The integration of public health and primary care also saves equipment, time, and finances and increases workforce outcomes in their specialty. The barriers to implementing the change include institutional ones where the health departments fail to respond to workers’ opinions or suggestions in creating harmony. The health institutions lack a collective approach to addressing changes or assessing the performance of integration. The efforts to link public care and primary care are also crippled due to limited awareness and information about the roles played by each party. Consequently, health organizations push away integration reforms since they do not understand what they stand to gain in collaborations. The lack of resources to cement primary care and public health partnerships also compromises efforts to unite the health organizations. Moreover, public health and primary care compete for the same government funds, which further create a division between the two bodies (Pratt et al., 2018).
O’Gurek, D. T., Czapp, P., Lampton, L., Quiogue, M., & Stewart, A. (2015). Integration of primary care and public health (Position paper). AAFP. https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/integration-primary-care.html
Pratt, R., Gyllstrom, B., Gearin, K., Lange, C., Hahn, D., Baldwin, L. M., VanRaemdonck, L., Nease, D., & Zahner, S. (2018, April 3). Identifying barriers to collaboration between primary care and public health: Experiences at the local level. SAGE Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0033354918764391
Taylor, E., Bailit, M., Dyer, M. B., Bailit Health Purchasing LLC, & Hacker, K. (2016). Integrating Public Health and Health Care:Getting Beyond the Theory. State Health and Value Strategies.