Preserving Independent Primary Care Practices

Carrie Colla, PhD, is a professor of The Dartmouth Institute. In 2020 Colla was named an Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine Scholar by the National Academy of Medicine.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to severe financial stress for both hospitals and physician practices, raising serious concerns that many may either close or be purchased by larger organizations. Carrie Colla D’01, PhD, a health economist and member of a team of researchers at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, is using her expertise to fight for policy change that would help to preserve independent primary care practices.

As co-author on a recent study that showed independent primary care practices provide equal quality care to integrated health systems, Colla notes that these practices need and deserve support during this time of disruption. “The policy implications of this research are clear,” says Colla. “With COVID-19 wreaking financial havoc on smaller health care organizations, policy makers—both at the federal and state levels—should ensure that purchases of practices and hospitals adhere to current antitrust law. They should also consider financial support for those most threatened by the pandemic.”