Medical homes understaffed for teamwork

During the country's transition period from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement, medical practices struggle to find financial incentives to hire the right allied health professionals to truly staff a patient-centered medical home (PCMH), according to new research published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Deborah Peikes, Ph.D., of Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, N.J., and colleagues studied more than 500 primary care practices participating in Medicare's Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) Initiative. Researchers found that:

  • 53 percent of practices staffed nurse practitioners or physician assistants

  • 24 percent of practices had care managers or coordinators

  • 7 percent of practices hired pharmacists, social workers, community service coordinators, health educators or nutritionists

These are the type of professionals needed to facilitate team-based care, MedPage Today noted, although the exact makeup of a successful PCMH remains unknown.

"The ideal composition may vary by practice size, patient mix, and the area's medical and social service providers," authors wrote. "As the CPC initiative unfolds, we will examine any changes in staff size and composition and whether these changes are associated with cost, quality, and patient and clinician experiences. Such evidence could help guide staffing and payment decisions of policy makers and practice leaders."

To learn more:
- read the article from MedPage Today
- here's the study on staffing patterns