Patient-centered medical homes see higher provider satisfaction

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act recently getting the green light by the U.S. Supreme Court, expansion of one of its key tenets--the patient-centered medical home (PCMH)--has now reached a tipping point of having broad private- and public-sector support, according to a new report from the Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC).

In its follow-up report to one released in 2010, the PCPCC reports on results from medical-home initiatives during the past two years, with examples of PCMH programs contributing to better health, improved care and lower costs at participating practices, according to a post from AAFP News Now.

The model also has benefited healthcare providers, the report notes. For example, Seattle-based health system Group Health of Washington reported a 4.4 percent increase in provider satisfaction during study years of 2009-2010, as well as lower emotional exhaustion reported by staff (10 percent versus 30 percent among controls).

According to the report, the model will continue to pick up steam. "Major health plans and industry partners are embracing the PCMH model with enthusiasm by creating insurance plans and developing tools and resources contributing to the implementation of medical homes," the authors stated.

Indeed, a news story out New York this week describes how a new alliance between insurer Independent Health and 140 primary care providers, called Primary Connection, aims to replicate the successes achieved by similar PCMH programs around the country.

"The Primary Connection grew out of our frustration that we still couldn't get good care for our patients," Donald W. Robinson, a family physician, told the Buffalo News, citing poor communication with specialists and poor transitions between doctors and facilities, among other problems the medical home model helps resolve.

With hopes that more National Committee for Quality Assurance-certified practices in Western New York will join the initiative, stakeholders are optimistic that the quality and cost benefits will be widespread. "We believe there will be savings in which a portion can go back to the doctors and a portion can go toward reducing the insurance premium," Michael W. Cropp, president and CEO of Independent Health, told the newspaper.

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