The Medical Homes Model Is Spreading

A new model of health care called "medical homes" offers a stark contrast to hurried doctor visits, long waits and rushed physicians, the Chicago Tribune reports. Instead, a patients gets regular phone calls and e-mails from medical staff, reminders for flu screenings and vaccines, and less hurried doctors. "In it's ideal form, a doctor oversees a team of nurses, physicians' assistants and health coaches who ensure patients get needed care, support and education. That frees the doctor to focus on compelling medical issues."

Despite some problems with implementation – such as resistance by doctors who worry they could earn less, and a lack of technology needed to manage patients – medical homes are spreading around the country. Pioneered by groups such as Seattle's Group Health Cooperative, insurers in Illinois and elsewhere are now opening pilot programs. Medicare has also announced a pilot program, and health reform plans in Congress also include proposals to expand medical homes (Graham, 10/20).

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