The District of Columbia Primary Care Association (DCPCA) is a nonprofit health care reform organization founded in 1996 by health care professionals who were concerned that the shortage of primary health care in the District of Columbia was contributing to increasingly poor health outcomes for the city's residents. DCPCA works to improve the health of DC's residents by ensuring that they receive high quality primary health care regardless of their ability to pay.
The District of Columbia as a city has the highest ratio of physicians to population in the country, and yet 300,000 of its 572,000 residents live in neighborhoods the federal government calls "Medically Underserved" or "Health Professional Shortage Areas." This lack of access to quality primary care means:
• People are sicker and die younger.
• People use emergency rooms inappropriately for primary care or go without care and are hospitalized when chronic illness becomes a crisis.
• Higher rates of disability for children and adults.
• Higher rates of hospitalization and long-term care, which increases taxpayer costs without achieving better health.
We believe there is a better way. We believe that everyone – especially people who are medically underserved by the health care system in our community – should get the right health care, at the right time, and in the right place. We believe that a fully funded, community-based primary health care system is the best first place for medical treatment whenever possible.