Dr. Jennifer Bracey, a practicing physician and an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of South Carolina, has published and spoken extensively on the necessity of changes in primary care since the COVID pandemic. As one of 3300 leading academic general internists working in the Society of General Medicine, Dr. Bracey advocates for enhanced medical education, the elimination of healthcare disparities, and improved access to healthcare for all populations.high-value, evidence-based, person-centered, community-oriented healthcare to achieve person-centered, evidence-based, community-oriented, high-value healthcare.
In the post-pandemic era, Dr. Jennifer Bracey believes, these goals will require multiple changes.
Dr. Jennifer Bracey and colleagues note that a history of inequitable access to healthcare has resulted in inequitable results for patients on the basis of race, sex, gender identification, sexual orientation, and other stereotypes. For example, Black patients often receive lower amounts of pain management than their White counterparts with identical injuries. Access to health care, Dr. Bracey says, should not depend on employment status, income, gender, race, or sexual orientation.
Dr. Bracey notes that primary care accounts for just 6 percent of health expenditures in the United States, while it receives 12 percent of healthcare funding, on average, internationally. Payments to primary care providers have not reflected the growing complexity of inputs, interactions, and patient education, and the amount of time spent by the healthcare team before, during, and after patient encounters. Primary care providers must receive parity of payments for telehealth and face-to-face encounters, and they must be allowed to prescribe to patients with fewer geographical constraints.
Before the pandemic, a group of researchers estimated that a typical primary care physician needed to be on the job 10.6 hours a day to keep up with prevention and chronic disease management for a panel of 2500 patients. After COVID, Kimberly S. Hawblitzel Yarnall and colleagues found that a physician with 2500 patients needed to be on the job 21.7 hours a day to provide the same level of care.
Physicians and their staffs must be allowed to avail themselves of all available tools for streamlining medical practice. They need easy access to collaborative care with their colleagues across specialties, and adequate compensation to motivate them to stay on the job.
The Society for General Internal Medicine Seeks Robust Health Care Ready for Future Disasters, Jennifer Bracey Says
Major disasters, like the COVID pandemic, seriously disrupt essential healthcare for people with chronic illnesses, Dr. Jennifer Bracey says. The SIGM endorses a shared commitment to change that will expand access to all communities while maintaining a robust, high-value, evidence-based standard of primary healthcare.
Dr. Jennifer Bracey is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of South Carolina, having left a post at Johns Hopkins to be able to take care of ailing family members. Dr. Bracey has worked as a physician at two hospitals and two maternity clinics in remote locations in Haiti. Dr. Bracey also served as a director of Emory University’s Ethiopia Program and as a physician at the Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa.