After reading Cheryl Clark’s interview with Dr.

After reading Cheryl Clark’s interview with Dr. Bruce Siegel, President & CEO of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, she points out that if the entities existing in one of the 30 states now threatening to refuse expansion of their Medicaid eligibility rules to 138% of the federal poverty level don’t receive assistance, they’ll continue to provide uncompensated care for many of their sickest patients.  For organizations already stretching to deliver care to the most vulnerable populations, it was encouraging to learn that seven more states have joined the Medicaid ACO project, which targets low-income populations for care improvements and cost reduction via the medical home.

Will a move away from managed care to care coordination payments provide enough incentive for chronically ill Medicaid patients to obtain necessary primary care versus waiting for an urgent or emergent situation to send them to the emergency department?  Dr. Lisa Letourneau, executive director of Maine Quality Counts, a regional healthcare improvement collaborative and  physician champion for the Maine Patient-Centered Medical Home pilot, thinks so.  In order for the 108 practices that have applied for the Medicaid health home pilot, they must have NCQA medical home recognition or have applied for it, maintain an EHR and commit to 10 core expectations of medical home that go beyond National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) conditions.

Although there are already more than 100 ACOs that serve Medicare populations, the Medicaid population is notably sicker, poorer and requires more resources – a complex and challenging equation to say the least.  In efforts to utilize the most efficient resources, advanced nurse led medical homes with patient engagement technology provide an alternative worth considering for those rural locations struggling to meet budgetary requirements. With the brightest minds recently convening at the World Congress 2nd Annual Leadership Summit on Medicaid, one can only hope that they were discussing medical homes similar to Piedmont Health, North Carolina’s first community health center focused on delivering comprehensive primary care services and health education to its members.


With millions of dollars at stake and community health on the line, innovating Medicaid with the medical home model should be a priority today, and not tomorrow.

 

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