Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Physician Groups Back Medical Home Coalition: The Joint Principles for a Medical Home Are Supported by Other Organizations, Including Large Corporations

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Physician Groups Back Medical Home Coalition: The Joint Principles for a Medical Home Are Supported by Other Organizations, Including Large Corporations

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- A who's who list of physician organizations, advocacy groups, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and employers is throwing its weight behind the idea that the medical home model can cure much of what ails the health care system.

At a recent meeting of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, 13 physician specialty groups--including the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics--signed on to the joint principles fora comprehensive, primary care, evidence-based, and physician-directed medical home. The principles also are supported by a variety of other organizations, including many large corporations.

"I have been a family physician for 31 years ... and I have never been more excited about the future of health care," said Dr. Doug Henley, executive vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

In March, the Association of American Medical Colleges adopted the position that everyone should have access to a medical home,

"Many Americans, even among those with comprehensive health insurance, feel 'medically homeless' and lost in a system that is difficult to navigate when they require care," AAMC president Darrell Kirch said in a statement. "The medical home model holds great promise for improving Americans' health by ensuring that they have an ongoing relationship with a trusted medical professional."

It's not just national groups that are buying into the concept. At least 41 states are preparing or considering pilot projects to implement the medical home model. Medicare is scheduled to launch a demonstration project next year, and Wal-Mart has begun to explore the model.

"We listen to our customers," Dr. John Agwunobi, president of Wal-Mart's professional services division, said at the meeting. "We hear them saying that health care is too costly, too complicated, and too controlled."

There was no apparent consensus on what is needed to make the idea of a medical home into a reality.

Although all of the groups have signed on to the joint principles, that endorsement doesn't imply specific responsibilities. Nor does it imply that everyone agrees on what defines a medical home. A wide variety of measurement tools now being developed can be used to gauge and document the success of a medical home, and that is just the first step. "Measurement is an extremely powerful tool. But it is only that. It is not an end in itself. …

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