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Thanks to the quality of Costa Rica's primary health care system, she has been able to maintain her independence and health, even in the absence of family.Unfortunately, many patients will suffer far worse health outcomes than Valeria, simply because they are unable to access quality primary health care services.Over the past 20 years, Costa Rica's Department of Social Security has built a primary health care system that today reaches nearly every person in the country.Second, Costa Rica divided the country into 104 coverage areas, assigning every citizen a primary health care team.Finally, the health department created a system to gauge statistically the quality of the care it was delivering.Access to primary health care has surged, from 25 percent of the population in the early 1990s to 93 percent in 2006 . Today, more than 94 percent of the population is assigned to a specific primary health care team. Costa Rica offers one successful approach.
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