American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits — that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Its mission is to advance the values of Family Medicine by promoting humanitarian, educational and scientific initiatives that improve the health of all people. The AAFP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and supports more than 20 programs each year.
About Family Physicians
Family physicians are personal doctors for people of all ages and health conditions. They are a reliable first contact for health concerns and directly address most health care needs. Through enduring partnerships, family physicians help patients prevent, understand, and manage illness, navigate the health system and set health goals. Family physicians and their teams adapt their care to the unique needs of their patients and communities. They use data to monitor and manage their patient population, and use the best science available to prioritize services most likely to benefit health. They are ideal leaders of health care systems and partners for public health.
Why Primary Care?
Primary care can help put the health back in health care. A system based on primary care can help us deliver on the Triple Aim: better health, better care, and lower costs.
- Evidence shows that access to primary care can help us live longer, healthier lives.
- Studies suggest that as many as 127,617 deaths per year in the United States could be averted through an increase in the number of primary care physicians.
- In areas of the country where there are more primary care providers per person, death rates for cancer, heart disease, and stroke are lower and people are less likely to be hospitalized.
- A primary care-based system may cost less because patients experience fewer hospitalizations, less duplication, and more appropriate technology.
- U.S. adults who have a primary care physician have 33 percent lower health care costs.
- Medicare spending is less for states with more primary care physicians and yet these states have more effective, higher-quality care.
A health system that undervalues primary care has resulted in health care spending that is more than double that of other industrialized countries, yet America ranks 24th out of 30 in life expectancy.
- Urban and rural communities that have an adequate supply of primary care doctors experience lower infant mortality, higher birth weights, and immunization rates at or above national standards despite social disparities.
- An increase of 1 primary care doctor per 10,000 people can decrease costly and unnecessary care.
- Evidence shows that primary care (in contrast to specialty care) is associated with a more equitable distribution of heath in populations.