In June, the McLaren Medical Group practice in Ortonville became the first location to be designated as a patient-centered medical home by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Over time, MMG hopes to move all of its clinics toward this new model of delivering care.
Creating a Partnership
"The patient-centered medical home is essentially a partnership between the physician and patient," says David Pinelli, D.O., one of three physicians in the practice. "We sign a partnership agreement with patients to work on their health together."
For the physician, this means diligent tracking to ensure each patient receives all appropriate preventive care, testing, and lab work. Also, the physician helps patients set concrete health goals and track their progress.
In turn, patients agree to take a role in managing their chronic conditions. Those who have a chronic illness may participate in self-management workshops.
"This system gives us a lot more control over patient care, which in turn helps us provide better care," says Dr. Pinelli.
Meeting Rigorous Guidelines
Creating a patient-centered medical home doesn’t happen overnight. "The practice must first meet an extensive set of guidelines and criteria set by Blue Cross," says Kimberley Hamm, R.N., M.S.N., director of Quality and Compliance at MMG. "The practice must also have excellent quality scores through Blue Cross," says Hamm.
Based on these criteria, MMG has nominated eight additional physician practices as patient-centered medical homes this year. If successful in the designation process, they will be designated in June 2012.
"We look forward to working with all of these groups to provide a new level of quality care to patients," says Dr. Pinelli.