Results From A Patient-Centered Medical Home Pilot At UPMC Health Plan Hold Lessons For Broader Adoption Of The Model

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The patient-centered medical home is a promising model for improving access to high-quality care for more Americans at lower cost. However, feasible pathways for achieving a transformation from current primary care practices to this new model have yet to be fully identified. We report on the experience of UPMC Health Plan—part of a large, integrated delivery and financing system headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—in its efforts to support primary care practices as they converted to patient-centered medical homes. From 2008 through 2010, sites participating in the UPMC pilot achieved lower medical and pharmacy costs; more efficient service delivery, such as lower hospital admissions and readmissions and less use of hospital emergency departments; and a 160 percent return on the plan’s investment when compared with nonparticipating sites. We suggest approaches that could spur the adoption and spread of the model, including that payers be offered incentives to enter into patient-centered medical home contracts with interested providers; that payers increase efforts to provide primary care practices with access to usable data on their patient populations; and that telehealth be instituted to connect care managers to patients and practices when in-person visits are not possible or necessary.

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