by Charles A. Monagan
Oct 13, 2011
02:36 PM
On Connecticut

Medical Home Sweet Home

 

The Connecticut Mirror reported the other day that there is still much confusion about the concept of patient-centered medical homes [PCMHs]. In surveys being done for the state in regard to Medicaid recipients, many people had no idea what the concept even entailed.

From the article:

Upon hearing the term "medical home," some people said it sounded like a place you go to die, said Meryl Price, a consultant working with DSS to design the medical home program. Other participants said it sounded like an institution, a place where you go and don't get out.

"That was a pretty intense finding," Price said Wednesday during a meeting on the medical home plan.

I wrote about the advent of PCMHs in the June 2011 issue of the magazine, so the concept is pretty fresh to me, although I bet most people still have no idea what it is, which is too bad because it seems like a great idea and is already where much of healthcare is moving.

Okay, if you're not up on it, a patient-centered medical home is not actually a physical place, but a health-care model employed by primary-care physicians. Rather than patients having to navigate the often confusing maze of specialists, hospitals, pharmacies and labs on their own, the doctor’s office coordinates and monitors the patient’s full range of care, from making appointments to following up, primarily through the use of electronic medical records (EMRs). Expanded office hours, same-day access and improved support and educational services are also among the patient benefits, while physicians enjoy increased efficiency, reduced paperwork and a redistribution of staff responsibilities.

At the time I was doing the research for the article (around early May), there were 113 primary health-care sites and groups certified as Level 1, 2 or 3 PCMHs in the state according to the National Committee of Quality Assurance. Since then, the number has exploded, as there are now 501 now PCMHs certified in the state—a nearly 500 percent jump in five months!

It's getting fair to say that soon if you don't know what one is, chances are that you really might not have to look any farther than your own doctor's office.

Medical Home Sweet Home

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