The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous upheaval to the United States, dramatically altering the way we live, work, go to school, and, importantly, obtain health care services. That upheaval has been apparent in primary care, the foundation of our health care system. Primary care physicians (PCPs), nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are often the first health care professionals individuals encounter when facing illness or injury, deliver the majority of preventive and chronic disease services, and, particularly in rural and underserved areas, serve as experts and community leaders on a wide range of health care issues. As such, these clinicians have had a front row seat on the ravages of the virus that causes COVID-19. They have also directly felt the financial impact of the pandemic’s economic fallout and responded in ways that could result in long-term changes to the delivery and financing of primary care. In this paper we discuss observations from interviews with practicing PCPs across the country on the ramifications of COVID-19 on their practices, their patients, and the future of primary care.
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