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J Am Board Fam Med ; 34(6): 1189-1202, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581435


BACKGROUND: Primary care is crucial to the health of individuals and communities, but it faces numerous structural and systemic challenges. Our study assessed the state of primary care in Virginia to prepare for Medicaid expansion. It also provides insight into the frontline of health care prior to an unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We surveyed 1622 primary care practices to understand organizational characteristics, scope of care, capacity, and organizational stress. RESULTS: Practices (484) varied in type, ownership, location, and care for medically underserved and diverse patient populations. Most practices accepted uninsured and Medicaid patients. Practices reported a broad scope of care, including offering behavioral health and medication-assisted therapy for opioid addiction. Over half addressed social needs like transportation and unstable housing. One in three practices experienced a significant stress in 2019, prepandemic, and only 18.8% of practices anticipated a stress in 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care serves as the foundation of our health care system and is an essential service, but it is severely stressed, under-resourced, and overburdened in the best of times. Primary care needs strategic workforce planning, adequate access to resources, and financial investment to sustain its value and innovation.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Medicaid , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , Virginia
JAMA ; 325(14): 1436-1442, 2021 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323838


Importance: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that performs an important role in calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism and also affects many other cellular regulatory functions outside the skeletal system. Vitamin D requirements may vary by individual; thus, no one serum vitamin D level cutpoint defines deficiency, and no consensus exists regarding the precise serum levels of vitamin D that represent optimal health or sufficiency. Objective: To update its 2014 recommendation, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) commissioned a systematic review on screening for vitamin D deficiency, including the benefits and harms of screening and early treatment. Population: Community-dwelling, nonpregnant adults who have no signs or symptoms of vitamin D deficiency or conditions for which vitamin D treatment is recommended. Evidence Assessment: The USPSTF concludes that the overall evidence on the benefits of screening for vitamin D deficiency is lacking. Therefore, the balance of benefits and harms of screening for vitamin D deficiency in asymptomatic adults cannot be determined. Recommendation: The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for vitamin D deficiency in asymptomatic adults. (I statement).

Mass Screening , Vitamin D Deficiency/diagnosis , Vitamin D/analogs & derivatives , Adult , Asymptomatic Diseases , Humans , Mass Screening/adverse effects , Mass Screening/methods , Vitamin D/blood , Vitamin D/therapeutic use , Vitamin D Deficiency/blood , Vitamin D Deficiency/drug therapy , Vitamins/therapeutic use
Ann Fam Med ; 18(4): 349-354, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-653930


During a pandemic, primary care is the first line of defense. It is able to reinforce public health messages, help patients manage at home, and identify those in need of hospital care. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care scrambled to rapidly transform itself and protect clinicians, staff, and patients while remaining connected to patients. Using the established public health framework for addressing a pandemic, we describe the actions primary care needs to take in a pandemic. Recommended actions are based on observed experiences of the authors' primary care practices and networks. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, tasks focused on promoting physical distancing and encouraging patients with suspected illness or exposure to self-quarantine. Testing was not available and contract tracing was not possible. As the pandemic spread, in-person care was converted to virtual care using telehealth. Practices remained connected to patients using registries to reach out to those at risk for infection, with uncontrolled chronic conditions, or were socially vulnerable. Practices managed most patients with suspected COVID-19 at home. As the pandemic decelerates, practices are now preparing to address the direct and indirect consequences-complications from COVID-19 infections, missed treatment for acute problems, inadequate prevention, uncontrolled chronic disease, mental illness, and greater social needs. Throughout, practices bore tremendous financial burden, laying off staff or even closing at a time when most needed. Primary care must learn from this experience and be ready for the next pandemic. Policymakers and payers cannot fail primary care during their next time of need.

Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Delivery of Health Care/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Primary Health Care/methods , Telemedicine/methods , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Humans , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology