Blog | Monday, February 27, 2012

Some construction on the medical home


"Get busy." That was the message from Richard Baron, MD, MACP, to primary care physicians attending National Medical Home Summit, held in Philadelphia today and tomorrow. Dr. Baron is a primary care physician himself (so he knows well how very busy docs already are), but he's now working at the Medicare-Medicaid Innovations Center. The agency's got a number of innovations involving the medical home and primary care physicians up its sleeve, from what Dr. Baron had to say.

One of the most intriguing was the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative. Eventually this program will pay practices about $20 per Medicare beneficiary per month (on top of fee-for-service) to provide really coordinated, comprehensive primary care. After some time, that payment will be reduced and practices will be given a share of the savings that are expected to result from this improved primary care.

Sound good? Want to know where you sign up? Nowhere yet. Right now, CMS is shopping the idea to insurers, because the agency wants them to run concurrent similar deals with the practices so they're not revamping their services only for Medicare patients. After a good number of insurers in a particular region are on board (and so far the response has been strong, according to Dr. Baron), local practices will be recruited. The program will be looking for practices that are well-equipped to provide this higher-quality care, which is why Dr. Baron is encouraging his colleagues to "get busy" becoming high-functioning medical homes.