A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Home Sweet Medical Home

Home Sweet Medical Home

April 14, 2015

What's a medical homer?A "Patient-Centered Medical Home" (PCMH) is not an institution or nursing home, but a primary care medical practice that offers coordinated, comprehensive care that is personal and focused on the patients' needs. PCMHs have the potential to both improve patient care and reduce costs. By engaging the patient at the center of his or her own care, a medical home can focus on improving overall health and wellness in partnership with the patient.

At least that's the theory. But what practically is required of a medical home?

The state's Health Policy Commission (HPC) is charged with figuring that out. They have issued a draft framework for their medical home certification standards, based on national standards advanced by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The hope is that strong standards will send a signal to patients that they can get the highest quality medical care by choosing a practice that meets the state's definition.

Health Care For All and the Massachusetts Public Health Association jointly submitted comments to the HPC on their medical home standards. In our comments, we expressed strong support for the direction taken by the HPC in their draft. We also emphasized a number of points where we urged the HPC to further advance the goal of medical homes through a number of provisions, including:

  • demonstrating cultural and language proficiency in the practice
  • coordination with coummunity-based resources, like community health workers
  • feedback from patients on their experiences with the practice
  • measure, and work to improve patient engagement in their care

There's a lot of wonkiness here, but we invite you to read our full PCMH comments here, and let us know what you think.

           - Brian Rosman