A recent article published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health by faculty at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health outlines how Community-Oriented Primary Care (COPC) is a model of health care delivery that could meet the challenges of the evolving American health care system in light of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The COPC model of care tightly integrates primary care and public health and is a model already applied in nations around the globe. If COPC were more widely adopted in the United States, our nation’s clinical delivery systems could respond more efficiently to the growing demand for community health models (also known as population health management), which is being driven by various provisions of the ACA.
Currently health services are mainly providing sick care for individual patients. The current push to change from individualized care to a population health management approach supports the need for a shift in how healthcare professionals provide care as well as changes in organizational structures that will address the needs and health priorities of a population.
COPC is aligned with the Triple Aim Initiative, seeking to optimize the performance of health systems by addressing the individual patient experience of care, population health, and health care costs
Population health management requires applying public health and clinical services which answer the health needs of communities, while considering individual care management in the context of a defined population’s health. The article analyzes how the ACA is an appropriate opportunity for COPC to pave the way forward in public health management; offering practical alternatives for the delivery of primary care through the integration of both, clinical services (medicine) and public health. As a result of the ACA, the current policy climate provides an opportunity to test the COPC approach in terms of management, efficiency and sustainability.
Professor Dr. Jaime Gofin, directs the MPH concentration in COPC at the UNMC College of Public Health.
Professor Dr. Rosa Gofin, directs the MPH concentration in Maternal and Child Health COPC at the UNMC College of Public Health. Both were members of the SL Kark Team in Jerusalem, which developed and tested the COPC approach over several decades. Dr. Jaime Gofin and Dr. Rosa Gofin have conducted COPC capacity building programs in different countries.
Associate professor Dr. Jim P Stimpson, is the director of the Center for Health Policy at the UNMC College of Public Health.