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Health Policy Essay

2668 words - 11 pages

Patient-Centered Health Care Home
Many people in the United States do not have access to high quality primary care. There is substantial evidence indicating that sufficient access to high quality primary care results in lower overall health care costs and lower use of higher cost services, such as specialists, emergency rooms, and inpatient care. A large amount of the nation’s dollars are spent on health care. This large budget affects providers, patients, employers, and payers such as Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurers. This is a primary concern in many states including, Minnesota.
There are significant gaps in the quality of health care that patients in the United States receive. ...view middle of the document...

Overall, the goals of the health care home model are to provide affordable, accessible, coordinated care through a team-based approach that will result in increased patient satisfaction with the care they are receiving, improvement in patients’ health, reduction in health care costs, and maximization in health care outcomes.
Funding for the health care home initiative is funded at the federal level and by grants from organizations that support research, promote accessibility, and aim at improving quality of care by promoting healthcare approaches that are individualized and community based (American Academy of Pediatrics, n.d). Some of these grants as listed on the Rural Assistance Center’s (RAC) webpage include, grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Commonwealth Fund Health grants, the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) resident funds program, the CATCH planning funds program, and the Walgreen Community grants program (RAC, 2013).
To qualify and be certified as a health care home, the health care delivery systems must meet the developed criteria that include access and communication, effective patient tracking and registry function, care coordination, care plans, active patient self-management support, ability to track test results, referral tracking and performance reporting and improvement (MDH, 2009). Once certified, health care home functions by using various teams of providers who have met the certification criteria of the program. Teams include physicians, nurse practioners, and physician assistants working together to improve patient outcomes. Nurses and pharmacists are also part of these teams. According to Smith, Myrka, & McCollum, there are strategies (elements) involved in the health care home model and they are described as follows (n.d., p.88):
Personal physician-Every patient has a primary physician who is their first contact and who is to provide continuous and comprehensive care. The physician is always available to the patient, even after hours, through the internet. The patient can email his or her physician if needed at any time.
Health care team-The primary physician leads other members of the patient’s health care team regarding primary and preventative care and ensures the patient has continuity of care.
Coordinated care-The primary physician partners with community organizations such as hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, specialists, and the patient’s family to coordinate care (patient and family centered care). Patients and families are seen as equal team members.
Information technology-Patient care is coordinated between health care groups by use of electronic health records and other information technologies. These analytical tools allow for easy patient tracking, clinical monitoring, and specialists’ follow up and thereby reduce duplication of services, which raises health care costs.
Enhanced patient access-There is also expanded access...

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