Medicare funds range of state medical home pilots

The Obama Administration has set plans to fund pilot projects testing out the medical home model in several states, following existing efforts already well under way in some of them.

As FierceHealthcare readers may know, the medical home model pays physicians to coordinate care for their patients. The goal is to help patients, especially those with chronic diseases, to avoid hospital admissions and costly treatments.

Right now, all of the pending reform bills in Congress would encourage the use of medical home models. However, the plan announced this week should take effect more quickly, with pilots beginning next year. To participate in the program, states will need to apply, and to win support, prove that a majority of their primary-care physicians would participate.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said that she developed the program after getting a lot of requests from governors, including Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas. Vermont already has its own pilot running, under which the state's three major insurers and Medicaid contribute to a fund paying for care coordination teams including everything from nutritionists to social workers. Vermont also pays doctors roughly $1.20 to $2.39 per patient per month to coordinate care.

To learn more about the pilot projects:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece