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J Am Board Fam Med. 2012 Mar;25 Suppl 1:S39-44. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2012.02.110198.

International learning on increasing the value and effectiveness of primary care (I LIVE PC) New Zealand.

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  • 1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, New Zealand.


New Zealand (NZ) has a central government-driven, tax-funded health system with the state as dominant payer. The NZ experience precedes and endorses the US concept of patient-centered medical homes providing population-based, nonepisodic care supported by network organizations. These networks provide administration, budget holding, incentivized programs, data feedback, peer review, education, human relations, and health information technology support and resources. Key elements include enrolled populations; an interdisciplinary team approach; health information technology interoperability and access between all providers as well as patients; devolution of hospital-based services into the community; intersectorial integration; blended payments (a combination of universal capitated funding, patient copayments, and targeted fee-for-service for specific items); and a balance of clinical, corporate, and community governance. In this article, we discuss reforms to NZ's primary care arrangements over the past 2 decades and reflect on the lessons learned, their relevance to the United States, and issues that remain to be resolved.

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