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Patient-Centered Medical Home Growing Among Medicaid Practices

By Sara Heath

- The patient-centered medical home, a hands-on practice of primary care which emphasizes doctor-patient relationships and patient engagement, is of growing popularity among healthcare organizations. A form of accountable care, the patient-centered medical home is an approach adopted by different care organizations which allows them to engage in care coordination. Various organizations provide certification for PCMHs.

patient-centered medical home increases care coordination for Medicaid patients

In a recent study by Virginia Commonwealth University, it’s clear that many primary care providers who work with Medicaid beneficiaries provide care that aligns with the goals of the PCMH.

The study, which used data from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, tested five different factors which indicate an ACO as a patient-centered medical home. Those factors were serving multiple healthcare needs, accessibility of phone contact, extended office hours, coordination of prescriptions, and shared decision-making between the patient and the physician.

“Most Medicaid beneficiaries with no other coverage and a continuing source of primary care described the care they receive as consistent with at least three of five key attributes of the patient-centered medical home model,” the VCU reported in a press release.

The study also looked at the different demographics who reported care consistent with a PCMH, including those of higher or lower income, older or younger, and healthier or less healthy.

“Those who have a primary care provider with a lot of patient-centered medical home characteristics tend to be young and healthy rather than older and sick,” said Peter Cunningham, PhD., professor in the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research at the VCU School of Medicine. “However, the benefits of a patient-centered medical home will accrue more for patients who are older and sicker and have more complex health needs because they are the ones generating most of the costs and concerns regarding quality of care.”

Adhering to patient-centered medical home practices is of great benefit not only for the patients but for the providers as well. Many PCMH healthcare organizations received monetary incentives for the quality care they provide, and as payments become increasingly value-based, this is very important for the financial stability of the healthcare organization. Patient-centered medical home models also foster accountable care, which in the long run decreases problems associated with chronic disease management and hospital readmission.

According to the study, implementing patient-centered medical home practices in Medicaid programs is becoming a trend across the nation. Already there are 46 states, including Washington DC and Virginia, who have adopted this model for both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

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