We are big fans of monitoring progress so we're pleased to call attention to the release of a newly released report on the first 18 months of the pilot. Click here to read the Report.
Many people hear the term "medical home" and are unclear as to what that truly means. In the Report, a PCMH is defined as:
A "medical home" is not a building or a place, but a team of health professionals who work together to better coordinate care for their patients. The Maine PCMH Pilot builds on Maine traditions of collaboration and innovation, creating patient-centered solutions based on what we know works best in our communities. This work aligns with other exciting developments -- including the use of interconnected electronic medical records throughout Maine--so that doctors and nurses working together can better manage care, and patients have an active voice in their improving their health.Still confused? The Campaign for Better Care also has a very helpful fact sheet to provide an introduction to the "medical home" concept.
The development, implementation, and evaluation of the Maine pilot have been funded by a variety of sources including MaineCare, the Dirigo Health Agency, commercial insurers, and private foundations like Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Maine Health Access Foundation. 26 practices have participated in the Maine-based pilot to date, from Biddeford to Dover-Foxcroft; another round of selection for funding is now underway to expand the pilot.
Last year, Maine was selected as one of 8 states nationwide to receive federal funds to expand its pilot to include Medicare patients. When talking with folks about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) we often hear questions about why the law didn't include any cost containment provisions? The answer is "It did!". The ACA includes federal funding for many demonstration projects, like the Maine PCMH pilot and Medicare expansion, to improve quality and reduce costs in the health care system. These dollars have also allowed the pilot to expand to 20 more practices and add 2 years of additional funding (through 2014).
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the Report are the stories it features from providers, employers, and patients who have all benefited from the Pilot in its early stages. Learning about how the pilot benefits real patients and providers is important as we highlight the pilot's success to date and consider what challenges it needs to overcome in the future.
"Medical homes" truly are the wave of the future. You may already be reaping the benefits in your own doctor's office and don't even realize it. Does your doctor's office stay open after regular business hours? Does someone help you to coordinate your care with reminders about appointments and prescriptions? Do your doctors talk to each other? The most exciting part of this innovation is patient engagement. The more doctors and patients communicate about their needs, the more successful the practices will be, making it a win-win for providers and consumers.