Patient-centered medical home improves care, cuts costs

Michigan employers who shoulder health care expenses for their workforce are optimistic that a new patient care model is helping to transform health care delivery in Michigan.

Corporations and small-business owners should continue to push for the model's implementation to help bring down costs.

Michigan is one of eight states testing a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in a multiyear, multipayer project.

Physicians and practices that have adopted the PCMH model take a "whole person" approach and coordinate care across all providers and settings, helping consumers navigate the increasingly complex health care system. A PCMH team may include any health care provider relevant to the patient's health issues. 

The results are beginning to show positive health outcomes and cost savings. Supporters include major job providers and insurers including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, Health Alliance Plan and Upper Peninsula Health Plan, among others. 

As the PCMH model proliferates, Michigan's employers should benefit not only with lower health care expenses, but also through employees who are more productive due to fewer health problems and work absences. 

After fewer than five years implementing the new model, primary care practices report improvements in the biggest health care challenges facing Michigan's population — obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other issues that affect our aging residents in large numbers and lead to chronic, costly hospital and emergency room visits. 

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