Patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) are not about pigeon-holing certain diseases or illnesses, says Terry McGeeney, MD, MBA, director at BDC Advisors, but about delivering acute and chronic care prevention and wellness. Dr. McGeeney reiterated the five essential features of the medical home as the groundwork for a medical neighborhood.
Given many of the initiatives of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), coupled with the Triple Aim, many have gotten bogged down and probably overly focused on the name: patient-centered medical home (PCMH). What’s important are the features or attributes of the PCMH: first, its patient-centeredness, a partnership among practitioners, patients and their families that ensures and respects the decisions of the patients and ensures patients have the education and support they need.
Secondly, in a PCMH, the care needs to be comprehensive. It’s a team of care providers who are wholly accountable for a patient’s physical and mental healthcare needs, including prevention and wellness, acute care, and chronic care.
Third, you will hear discussions about the PCMH being about a certain disease or illness. Please note that it’s acute and chronic care prevention and wellness. Pigeon-holing conditions, while important, is more of a chronic quality improvement initiative and not PCMH.
Fourth, under the PCMH, care needs to be coordinated. Care is organized across all elements of the broader healthcare system, including specialists, hospital, home healthcare, community service and support. There’s a lot of debate now about what we call ‘post-acute care’ or ‘transitions in care.’ Jonathan Blum, principal deputy administrator of CMS, recently spoke on the importance of post-acute care. This is what coordinated care particularly is all about.
Care has to be accessible. Patients are able to access services with shorter waiting times, after-hours care with access to EHRs, etc., and there has to be a commitment to quality and safety. Clinicians and staff need to enhance quality improvement with the use of health IT and other tools that are available to them.
We also need to be very careful that quality care is not equated with lower cost of care. Sometimes those two have a tendency to get muddled.
Blueprint for a Medical Neighborhood: Building Care Coordination Between Specialists and PCPs provides a framework in which to evaluate the patient-centered medical neighborhood (PCM-N) model. Pictured here is Terry McGeeney, MD, MBA, director of BDC Advisors, who navigates the landscape of the medical neighborhood, from the value-based payment realities of healthcare today to identifying and engaging specialists in a medical home neighborhood.