How to Engage Specialists in the Patient-Centered Medical Home

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

Primary care's relationship with specialists will influence quality and reimbursement.


Florida Blue’s primary care focused pay-for-performance program transitioned in 2012 into a statewide patient-centered medical home (PCMH) initiative. Here, Barbara Haasis, RN, CCRN, senior clinical lead for quality reward and recognition programs at Florida Blue, describes the role of primary care in engaging specialists in the PCMH program.

Engagement of specialists happens through the primary care physician (PCP). The PCP will be judged on the total cost of care, and his percentage of the shared savings is based on working with specialists that are efficient, and that report back to him or her, so that they are aware of what is going on. That is the development between the PCP and the specialist. They have to go to a specialist in the network, but we are not specifying who.

There is a huge incentive for the PCP, because when we look at a member’s total cost of care, we are looking at inpatient/outpatient, specialty, primary, lab, x-ray, total cost of care—it is everything. If there are two specialists, and one orders every test under the sun, whether it is needed or not, and the other goes into the ER to see the member and takes care of them efficiently and effectively, that primary care doctor is going to change his referral pattern to go to the more efficient. That is the incentive.

We are setting up other arrangements with specialists that will marry up to the PCMH. For example, we may do some kind of preferred cardiology network in the Orlando area into which the PCPs will probably refer. We cannot do that here. We have contractual language with many of our facilities and physicians that prevent us from doing any steerage.

It is up to the physicians to work through relationships to find the most effective for their practice.

Excerpted from: New Models in the Patient-Centered Medical Home: Incentives, Infrastructure and IT to Support Accountable Care

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