National Partnership for Women & Families

Patient-Centered Medical Home

Millions of Americans lack insurance coverage, costs are spiraling, and quality is poor.

In too many cases, the way we pay for care perversely rewards the very things that drive up health costs and undermine quality, causing millions of patients to get care they don’t need, or, worse, care that makes them sicker.

Today, fully 1/3 of our health care spending is wasted on payments for medical mistakes and poor quality care. We also have a system that values expensive technology over basic primary and preventive care, rewards volume of care over outcomes or appropriate care, and makes no distinction in payment based on quality or health outcome.

One approach to addressing these problems, the “Patient Centered Medical Home,” is rapidly gaining traction. The “Patient Centered Medical Home” is not an institution, but rather a model of a physician practice that emphasizes readily accessible, comprehensive, coordinated care, and active involvement of the patient and family in health care decisions. There is evidence that receiving care from a physician practice that is organized as a “medical home” improves quality and reduces disparities in health care access and outcomes between whites and people of color.

The medical home concept could profoundly improve health care in this country, but only if it engages consumers and fosters truly patient-centered care. The National Partnership is working with other organizations that represent patients and consumers to help ensure that it meets the health care needs of consumers, patients, and their families.

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