New Effort Will Provide Medicare Funds for State ‘Medical Home’ Projects
On Wednesday, the Obama administration announced that Medicare will help fund state-level pilot projects that provide physicians with financial incentives to coordinate patient care with specialists in an effort to avoid more costly hospital visits, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The program will be in effect for three years.Â It is modeled after a program already tested in Vermont, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
States can apply to be a part of the program this fall and will have to demonstrate that a majority of primary care physicians in the area will participate. The program will launch early next year.
In the "medical homes" program, a single physician or practice is responsible for tracking and coordinating a patient's required care.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) said, "They have a more thorough and less hurried primary care visit" (Kerr, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/16).
HHS officials hope more attentive care will help prevent patients, especially those with chronic conditions, from deteriorating and having to make costly hospital visits, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to Sebelius, states that want to receive Medicare funding will have to show that their programs will "actually produce better results with lower health care costs."
A physician's practice would receive a bonus if a patient's health improves, based on various metrics. The program is expected to cover 60,000 patients.All five health reform bills in Congress would help expand "medical homes" programs beyond the trial period (Zhang, Wall Street Journal, 9/16). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.