Medicare to test more medical home models

The program will coordinate with Medicaid and private insurers at the state level to assess the safety and efficiency of care coordination.

By Chris Silva — Posted June 17, 2010

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The federal government is inviting states to apply for participation in a project that will assess the effectiveness of collaborating with Medicare on a patient-centered medical home model. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will provide enhanced payments to participating practices.

The agency said the project is an example of the sort of programs it will carry out under its new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was authorized by the new health system reform law.

Under the three-year project --the Multi-payer Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration -- Medicare will join with Medicaid and private insurers in an effort to improve the delivery of primary care and lower costs.

CMS called the patient-centered medical home "a leading model for efficient management and delivery of quality health care services." Medical homes typically utilize such strategies as care coordination and the increased use of incentives and data-driven analytic tools.

The agency said it anticipates operating the project in up to six states and will perform an independent evaluation of the programs. Some states already have been attempting to promote patient-centered medical homes on their own. Vermont's Blueprint for Health program, for example, is developing a Web-based chronic care patient information system that is free to physicians who have Internet access.

The CMS demonstration will assess the ability of beneficiaries to participate effectively in making decisions about their own care, as well as how closely delivery of care follows evidence-based guidelines. The demonstration marks the first time Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers will join in a partnership with states in an effort to improve delivery methods, agency officials said.

"Improved efficiencies in the system could mean providers will be able to spend more time with their patients, provide higher quality care and better coordinate that care with other medical professionals," said Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator and chief operating officer.

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