Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative Touts Medical Home

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

I spent the better part of today listening in on the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) Summit. Over the course of the conference, physician organizations, health plans and employers described how they are working toward a new model of healthcare delivery focused on the patient centered medical home. We’ve been hearing about this for a while now — when HIN conducted an online survey over a year ago, many healthcare organizations had not heard of the medical home model or confused it with a physical structure.

Today, however, it seems to be an accepted trend in healthcare, with metrics and measurements for medical homes in development. One presenter said many practices are jumping on the bandwagon and calling themselves medical homes when in fact they are not. While there were many reminders that physicians expect to be reimbursed for embracing this healthcare model with references to a “blended” payments, all agreed that under the auspices of a medical home, access to and quality of care are improved and healthcare costs go down.

If you access the Presentation Materials link from the PCPCC Web site, you can review some of the pilots already underway. BlueCross Blue Shield, Wellpoint and UnitedHealthcare are just some of the payers with some skin in the game. Also very interesting was a presentation from TransforMED on its national demonstration project, which begins to define what practices need to do to follow the tenets of the medical home model — e.g. the specifics of providing access to care and information. It is clear that IT in general and electronic medical records in particular are vital to the success of medical homes.

Also presenting from the employer perspective were two pharmaceutical companies (Walgreens and Medco) and MinuteClinic. (It was pointed out that Walgreens and Medco probably fill about half of the prescriptions in the country and will be part of the data sharing that is essential to this model’s success.) While the retail clinic player MinuteClinic doesn’t aspire to become a medical home, it does refer patients to medical homes and forwards outcome data and patient information to its’ clients’ medical homes if they have them.

As metrics and measurements for the establishment of medical homes crystalize, it will be interesting to see how this initative reshapes primary care, physician practices and traditional reimbursement models.

The New York Times also analyzes the Summit’s intention to present new options for providers that expand traditional models of patient care.

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