Primary Care at Saint Francis(3)

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A Primary Care Primer

Primary care is performed and managed by a primary care physician, often in collaboration with other health professionals. When appropriate, the primary care physician makes a referral to a specialist. 

Primary care includes health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, and diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses. 

Primary care promotes effective communication with patients, and encourages the role of the patient as a partner in healthcare. 

Primary care may take place in a doctor’s office, hospital, nursing home, in the patient's home, or even in a daycare, school, or college. 

Share Your Voice


Your primary care physician partners with you to maintain your health. This includes helping you manage medical problems as they arise. More importantly, your primary care physician helps you avoid medical problems whenever possible, keeping you as healthy as possible. 

Keeping people healthy has never been more important. In 2008 the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) designated the term Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) to describe an approach in which healthcare teams, with primary care physicians at the forefront, keep entire populations healthier through care that is comprehensive, patient-centered, coordinated, accessible, safe, and of high quality. 

PCMH can greatly minimize the incidence, length, and severity of hospital stays. This approach not only keeps more people healthy and out of the hospital, it also helps control healthcare costs.    

Advances in Primary Care

In March, 2011, the Gengras internal medicine practice and the Burgdorf /Bank of America internal medicine and pediatric practices, both Saint Francis Care providers, received recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as patient-centered medical homes -- the first hospital-based clinics in Connecticut to receive this recognition. At present, 15 Saint Francis-affiliated practices have earned  NCQA recognition as patient-centered medical homes. 

Leading the Way to the Future

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, the PCMH model will require more primary care physicians than currently practice in that specialty. In 2012 Saint Francis took the lead by partnering with the University of Connecticut School of Medicine to create the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation (CIPCI).  

Under the leadership of Crystal Clark, MD, MPH, and the research mentorship of Greg Makoul, PhD, CIPCI will work toward the following outcomes:

    Drs Makoul and Clark at CIPCI
  • Improving primary care education for medical students and residents
  • Increasing retention of primary care trainees and physicians
  • Conducting groundbreaking research on the best ways to deliver primary care
  • Providing service to the community of practicing primary care physicians by helping them keep pace with change

As we move toward a future of greater demands on our healthcare system, Saint Francis will continue to lead the way with primary care innovations that prioritize maintaining the greater health of our communities. Learn more about Saint Francis's commitment to primary care innovation...