Patient-Centered Medical Home Upkeep Costs $8000 per Month

Maintaining the staffing and care coordination requirements of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) costs an average of $8600 per month, and even partial implementation of PCMH features can cost approximately $105,000 per full-time clinician each year, according to a study of primary care practices across two Western states. 

The study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine this month, used the NCQA 2011 PCMH standards to assess the financial impact of the popular care model, may represent an important contribution to the debate over the value and ROI of innovative practice frameworks.

“Transformation of a practice to a PCMH requires many changes, including new workflows, systems to improve patient access and manage health of a patient population, and potentially addition of staff to perform new services,” notes the study, authored by researchers from the University of Utah, Integrated Physician Network in Colorado, and Crosslin and Associates of Nashville, Tennessee.

“The financial aspect has been an ongoing challenge,” said Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of the PCPCC, in an interview with “We’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 percent of practices adopting this model because they know it’s good for patients, but the last 80 percent are still holding out for payment reform.  It’s not because they’re obstinate.  More often than not, they literally just can’t afford to make changes to their practice without some upfront funding.”

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