Lt. Governor Brown Encourages Primary Care Providers to Participate in Patient Centered Medical Home Program

Legislation passed earlier this year will begin to change health care delivery in Maryland to place renewed emphasis on prevention and the coordination of care

 

BALTIMORE, Md. (June 22, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown addressed a symposium of physicians and nurse practitioners this evening in Baltimore to encourage participation in a new Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program. The program was created through legislation championed by Lt. Governor Brown, passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley earlier this year.

“Our newly established Patient Centered Medical Home program will allow Maryland to move forward with health care reform, improve the quality of care and reduce costs by providing physicians with responsible incentives to spend more time with patients, coordinate care and promote prevention and wellness,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “As we initiate the new program with physicians across the state, we will have the opportunity to enhance the health care experience for both patients and providers, diverge from a reactive health care environment and advance a practical, proactive way of providing improved health care for our residents.”

The symposium was organized by the Maryland Health Care Commission which will oversee the new program and initially involve 50 practices, 200 physicians, and reach approximately 200,000 Marylanders. It is the first in a series of scheduled meetings to inform primary care providers about the program. Maryland Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene John M. Colmers and Thomas Graf, M.D., Chair of the Geisinger Community Practice Service Line in Pennsylvania, also spoke at the symposium.

The legislation stems from recommendations provided to Governor O’Malley by the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council, which Lt. Governor Brown chairs. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers serves as the Commission’s Vice Chair. The Council is charged with identifying ways to improve the quality of health care across the state and lower the cost of care for all Marylanders. Last year, the Council implemented several initiatives to improve care, including the Hand Hygiene Collaborative that aims to prevent hospital-acquired infections.

“The medical home model aims to improve patient health and elevate the role of the primary care provider in our health system,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers. “Through this initiative, we can begin to change how health care is delivered by focusing on the whole patient, increasing coordination across the care continuum, and improving access for both the healthy and the chronically ill.”

A PCMH is not a physical home, but rather a change in how health care services are delivered to patients. The goal of Maryland’s PCMH Program is to improve the quality of health care services and reduce costs.  PCMHs provide advanced primary care through a team of health professionals, guided by a personal physician.  Their focus is to provide patients with continuous, comprehensive and coordinated care in a culturally and linguistically sensitive manner. In particular, programs seek to increase patient and provider satisfaction, expand patient access to providers, provide more comprehensive and coordinated preventive care and care management, improve care to patients with chronic diseases, lower rates of hospitalization, reduce emergency department visits, and decrease the number of redundant services.

“Through four years of experience with ProvenHealth Navigator and Geisinger’s Patient Centered Medical Home model, we have created a new system of care that improves the quality of care of the patient, the patient experience, and the satisfaction of the professionals in a financially stable way,” said Thomas Graf, M.D., Chair of the Geisinger Community Practice Service Line in Pennsylvania. “Our results show a sustained reduction in hospital readmissions by 40 percent, statistically significant improvements in chronic disease and preventive care measures, patient satisfaction and professional satisfaction. Our recent survey of physicians practicing in our new model found 98 percent of them would recommend it to patients and 95 percent would recommend it to other physicians.”

PCMH pilot programs are underway in over 20 states, including a 9-practice pilot established in Maryland in 2009 by Carefirst. Pennsylvania, Vermont, Minnesota and Oregon have enacted major health reform legislation with the PCMH as a key element. The Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council PCMH workgroup crafted the program with collaboration from hospitals, providers and payers.

Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown administration’s health care portfolio. He chairs the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council and was named co-chair of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council earlier this year. During the 2010 legislative session, Brown championed efforts to pass the PCMH bill, as well as legislation providing the state with additional leverage to fight waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system.

 


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