The Bottom Line: Does Ownership Make a Difference in Primary Care Practice?

Stephan Lindner, PhD, ESCALATES Quantitative Team


Practice ownership is changing rapidly in the United States, but we know little about how practices with different ownership models approach care. In this study, we compared physician-owned practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and health system or medical group practices in terms of their characteristics, quality improvement processes, and four cardiovascular disease prevention clinical quality measures (aspirin prescription when appropriate, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation).

Useful Findings

FQHCs had the highest use of systematic quality improvement processes among all three ownership types, followed by health system practices. However, despite differences in processes utilized, levels of clinical quality measures were mostly similar across ownership type.

The Bottom Line

These findings suggest that different ownership types do not necessarily limit a practice’s opportunity to provide high quality care. Any practice can improve patient outcomes if it does a good job of implementing quality improvement processes that have been shown to be effective.

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#VisualAbstract for this Paper do not stereotype practices by ownership type graphic

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