Medical homes movement may reach critical mass in Michigan — MedCity morning read, April 24

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plans soon to designate about 1,000 doctors in primary-care practices as part of its medical homes program. It’s likely the largest medical homes effort nationwide and one of hte first to go beyond the pilot stage.

DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plans soon to designate about 1,000 doctors in primary-care practices as part of its medical homes program, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The insurer is calling it the largest medical homes effort nationwide. A number of insurers have piloted the concept, and Medicare is expected to follow suit soon, according to BNET Healthcare.

Blue Cross Blue Shield proposes to improve care for nearly one in five Michiganders by paying higher reimbursements to doctors who participate in model patient care programs, the Free Press said.  Doctors’ practices that adopt the medical home model would see 10 percent more in reimbursements from the insurer.

The “patient-centered medical home” model has emerged in the last several years to answer the needs for the falling quality the rising cost of health care.

A team of medical professionals coordinated by one doctor provide each patient preventive and disease management care. This proactive care is designed to head off expensive trips to the emergency room and to manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure so patients don’t get sick.

Cleveland’s MetroHealth System rolled out its medical homes program— called MetroHealth Partners in Care — in March.

The Michigan Blues already have spent $100 million over five years to develop its program, BNET said. What would the insurer get back? According to a 2004 study by the Annals of Family Medicine, the medical homes model could cut health care costs by 5.6 percent.

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