Patient-Centered Medical Homes in national reform

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Very early this morning, the US Senate overcame the last barrier to passing historic health care reform. The bill they will vote on is similar to the one recently passed by the House in many ways, but differs significantly in provisions for patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs). Proponents have argued that PCMHs will both improve the quality and safety of health care while reducing costs. PCMHs are a different way of delivering care — considering the whole patient, emphasizing prevention and primary care, and drawing on a team of providers all working at the top of their license. The House and Senate versions differ in which providers can serve as the primary clinician in a PCMH, which patients will have access to PCMHs, where the funding is allocated, and in how prescriptive they are about the function of PCMHs. For a description of the bills and the differences, see the CT Health Policy Project’s paper. For a letter on the subject signed by 133 members of the House including our Board member, Congressman Joe Courtney, click here. For more on the patient-centered medical home concept, see our PCMH resource page.