Primary health care that works: The Costa Rican experience

Madeline Pesec*, Hannah L. Ratcliffe, Ami Karlage, Lisa R. Hirschhorn, Atul Gawande, Asaf Bitton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Long considered a paragon among low- and middle-income countries in its provision of primary health care, Costa Rica reformed its primary health care system in 1994 using a model that, despite its success, has been generally understudied: basic integrated health care teams. This case study provides a detailed description of Costa Rica's innovative implementation of four critical service delivery reforms and explains how those reforms supported the provision of the four essential functions of primary health care: first-contact access, coordination, continuity, and comprehensiveness. As countries around the world pursue high-quality universal health coverage to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, Costa Rica's experiences provide valuable lessons about both the types of primary health care reforms needed and potential mechanisms through which these reforms can be successfully implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-538
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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