MGMA 2009: What's all this about a medical home?

While there has been a lot of talk about turning primary care practices into patient-centered medical homes, most real-life efforts are at the pilot stage. And while these pilots do have some things in common--largely, that they pay primary-care doctors more to spend more time on coordination--some also throw in added team members, a pay-for-performance variable and other goodies.

The only things that seem clear are that many payers are giving the medical home idea a try, and that primary-care physicians will have to take on new responsibilities. How can practices adapt when it's their turn for a test-run? Be sure to check out some of the relevant educational sessions, which might help you get a sense of where all of this is going.

For example, professor Chad Boult of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will offer his overview of the medical home, lay out an approach dubbed "Guided Care," then explain how to use this approach to build a medical home-based practice. (CON 313, Oct. 12, 8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m., room 108/112) Or if you prefer a broader discussion, run things past your peers at the family practice and internal medicine roundtable (CON 303, Oct. 12, 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., room 601).

You may also want to check out "Patient-Centered Practice: Mapping your Practice's Route to Success and Patient Satisfaction" (CON 414, Oct. 12, 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., room 201), which focuses on ways to improve patient flow and indirectly, free up time to do more coordination.

If nothing else, expect sessions like these to give you an idea of you stand when it comes to medical home processes and concepts, even if you're way behind. Hey, that's a good thing right by itself.