Help on Becoming a Medical Home

Help on Becoming a Medical Home

April 1, 2012
clinician and patient

Many efforts are underway to improve care delivery in the U.S. One concept is the patient centered medical home (PCMH), which, generally stated, is which is a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between patients and their physicians. Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange, and other means to assure that patients get needed care in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. (NCQA)

The PCMH approach is increasingly being used as a model to measure quality improvement and as a criterion for payers in their reimbursement methodologies. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is driving many changes in health care delivery, used the PCMH model in a number of areas, like development of regulations for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

The PCMH model sounds a lot like the Ryan White model. The President's 2010 National HIV/AIDS Strategy stated that "the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has supported the development of medical homes for people living with HIV and has experience to share...."

What it Takes to be a Medical Home

PCMH is an accreditation program that requires compliance with multiple criteria in order to be recognized as such under new health care reform and reimbursement policies. The PCMH concept originated as the Joint Principles of the PCMH developed by multiple major primary care physician organizations and has evolved from conceptual to a set of national standards established by national accrediting organizations namely the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Nationally, several thousand medical practices and over 12,500 physicians in the U.S. have been accredited by NCQA.

Helping Ryan White Grantees

Only limited information is available about how many Ryan White agencies have received medical home designation. Few seem to have achieved recognition to date. However, there is "resounding interest from grantees asking what does it mean to be a PCMH, what activities should they be doing to advance to" PCMH status, according to HRSA/HAB's Lauresa Washington, co-chair of the 2012 Ryan White Grantee Meeting, commenting on grantee feedback in planning the conference. While the November 2012 meeting will certainly have lots to share about medical homes, HRSA has already engaged on the topic and has funded multiple technical assistance and training projects to help agencies secure medical home status.