Patient-Centered Medical Homes: How they can help CT’s health care system

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Medical homes have been proposed as a critical piece of health care reform at both the national and state level. Medical homes are not buildings or hospitals, but a different way of practicing medicine. Care in a medical home is centered on the patient, not the health care system; it is customized for that person’s unique physical, social, emotional and cultural environment to ensure that treatments are effective. Care in a medical home is coordinated, comprehensive and family-centered. Care is also delivered by a team of providers, each doing the job they were trained to do. Medical homes emphasize and support primary care, making that field more attractive to providers easing a serious workforce shortage facing CT. By emphasizing primary care, medical homes have the potential to significantly reduce skyrocketing health care costs by reducing duplicate and unnecessary care, reducing emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and giving patients the tools and support they need to maintain their own health. The PCCM program for HUSKY families is built on the medical home concept.

Friday’s briefing brought to CT experts and providers from a nationally recognized model medical home to help us learn how this innovation can help CT patients and payers. We heard from a practice in Flushing, Queens that reduced labor costs, increased productivity, improved patient satisfaction and health outcomes by creating a nationally recognized medical home. We heard about coalitions of providers and payers working to disseminate the model around the country and the dozens of other states implementing varying forms of medical homes. We heard from Ontario which has been building a similar system, Family Resource Teams, for many years.

Resources from the briefing are available on-line. Policymaker Issue Brief No. 48 and a longer version include a description of the concept, how medical homes could improve quality and reduce the costs of care in CT, and measures policymakers can take to encourage them. The site includes a slide show of the medical home in Flushing, speaker bios and more resources. Speakers’ presentations are posted including Robert Fortini and Suneel Parikh, MD of Queens-Long Island Medical Group, Lee Partridge of the National Partnership for Women and Families, Fan Tait from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Shafiq Qaadri, MD, MPP Ontario.
Ellen Andrews