State saved nearly $1B using medical homes

The use of medical homes in North Carolina has shaved healthcare expenses by nearly $1 billion between 2007 and 2010, reports Stateline Health News.

The medical home system in the Tar Heel State is predicated on assigning Medicaid enrollees to a single primary care physician, expanding office hours and monitoring their use of healthcare services outside of their medical home provider.

The study, which was commissioned by the state Legislature and conducted by Milliman, determined that North Carolina placed more than 1 million Medicaid enrollees in medical homes during that period. Initially, treatment costs for those in medical homes rose as a result of more frequent visits to physician offices. However, those expenditures were more than offset by savings from reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Moreover, savings increased with each passing year. In fiscal year 2007, the state's Medicaid program saved a little more than $100 million, but more than $380 million during the 2010 fiscal year and $677 million between 2009 and 2010.

"This is further validation that we are on the right track to ensuring high-quality medical care with the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars," Lanier Cansler, director of North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services, said in a press release last month.

For more information:
- read the Stateline Health News article
- check out Gov. Purdue's press release