Getting Care from a Medical Home
A medical home is a type of doctor’s practice that uses a team to focus on the “whole person.” It is sometimes called a patient-centered medical home (PCMH). The team is often run by one or more primary care physicians (PCPs), or sometimes nurse practitioners. The team coordinates all of your care needs. Coordinating care means all of the people treating you know your medical history and treatment plan. They can work together to get you the care you need and avoid providing services you don’t need.
A medical home is not a type of health plan. It is similar to other health networks that aim to coordinate patient care better, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). If the providers are in your plan’s network, there is no extra cost to get care through a medical home. Medical homes can be good for many types of patients. They may be especially helpful for patients who need ongoing care, like those with chronic health problems such as asthma, heart failure or diabetes.
One key goal of a medical home is giving “patient-centered care.” That means working closely with you and your family to make sure you have a say in your treatment.
If you do not know whether you are already in a medical home, ask your PCP. If you would like to join one, ask your insurer for a list of medical homes in the plan’s network. Or, look here for providers in your state who meet the PCMH standards of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
A medical home, also known as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH), is a program or type of doctor’s practice that uses a team to focus on the “whole person.” Everyone involved in your care works together to keep you physically and mentally healthy, and to develop a complete, personalized plan for your care. A medical home practice is often run by one or more primary care physicians such as pediatricians, family practitioners or internists, although some may be run by nurse practitioners. These healthcare professionals lead a team that coordinates your physical and mental health needs, such as preventive screenings, vaccinations, hospital stays and even social services.
What does “coordinated care” mean?
Coordinated care means that everyone in the medical practice knows your medical history and treatment plan. In some cases, your medical information will be stored in a personal electronic health record that you and your doctors and other healthcare professionals can share, so everyone has a complete picture of your health. Ideally, your providers will know what tests and services you’ve had. That way, you won’t get the same screening twice, or have a bad reaction to a drug because a doctor didn’t know your medical history. They will also know if you’ve been getting the preventive care you need, like immunizations for the flu, or regular blood tests if you have diabetes.
Your Action Plan: Be Informed
- If you would like to have your care coordinated by a medical home, find out if you already are getting care from one by asking your primary care physician. Remember, it is always a good idea to ask!
- If you are not currently getting care from a medical home, ask your doctor or insurer whether there are medical homes available to you in your plan network.
- You also may find providers in your state that meet medical home standards by the NCQA here.
Remember, you are your own best advocate, so ask if there is anything you do not understand!