Our system is in need of substantial redesign, and new approaches are required that build on existing evidence. Primary care is essential for sustainable high-performance health care and is actively redesigning its methods to provide everyone a patient-centered medical home.
The patient-centered medical home is the current platform for the substantial redesign of primary care practice, nationwide. This overhaul of the primary healthcare system represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve healthcare for the entire population.
The patient centered medical home is an approach to providing comprehensive primary care for children, youth and adults. The medical home is a healthcare setting that facilitates partnerships among different healthcare professionals, including primary care providers, individual patients and, when appropriate, the patient's family.
The four major primary care medical societies united to outline seven joint principles for the patient-centered medical home. While behavioral health integration is not explicitly included in these principles, it is understood that if primary care and behavioral health are inseparable, then behavioral health must be a core element within the medical home. The two core principles of the medical home most apropos to the inclusion of behavioral health are whole person orientation and integrated service delivery.
1. Personal physician — each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician trained to provide first contact, continuous and comprehensive care.
2. Physician-directed medical practice — the personal physician leads a team of individuals at the practice level who collectively take responsibility for the ongoing care of patients.
3. Whole person orientation — the personal physician is responsible for providing for all the patient's health care needs or taking responsibility for appropriately arranging care with other qualified professionals. This includes care for all stages of life; acute care, chronic care, preventive services, and end of life care.
4. Care is coordinated and integrated across all elements of the complex health care system (e.g., subspecialty care, hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes) and the patient’s community (e.g., family, public and private community-based services).
Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange, and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.
5. Quality and safety are hallmarks of the medical home:
6. Enhanced access to care is available through systems such as open scheduling, expanded hours and new options for communication between patients, their personal physician, and practice staff.
7. Payment appropriately recognizes the added value provided to patients who have a patient-centered medical home. The payment structure should be based on the following framework: