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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Patient-centered medical home: Funny name, great concept

With health care reform discussions continuing in our nation’s capital, it’s good to know that Blue Cross Blue Shield is actually doing something right now to fix our broken health care system.

One way we’re doing it is through our patient-centered medical home program, commonly called PCMH. This somewhat funny-sounding term may be unfamiliar to you, so here is some quick background.
Last summer, Blue Cross announced that it designated more than 1,200 primary care physicians, representing about 300 practices, as PCMH physicians — making the Blues’ PCMH program the largest of its kind in the country.

To earn this designation, physicians changed their processes and procedures so they could be completely focused on you, the patient.  For example, physicians lead teams that coordinate your care across the entire health care spectrum, for whatever you need.  Sometimes, all you need is a throat culture and some medication.  Other times, you may need more – perhaps a referral to a specialist, lab tests, X-rays, nutrition counseling, etc. 

The point is, with a medical home, you have a care team focused on you.  They know you.  They coordinate your medical records, track your progress, monitor your test results and guide you to a healthier lifestyle.  They may even call just to check up on you, especially if you have a chronic condition, such as asthma or diabetes. 

Your medical home also offers extended office hours and 24-hour telephone access, so you don’t have to guess whether that pain in the middle of the night requires a visit to the emergency room.  That can save you valuable time and prevent co-pay expenditures. 

In a nutshell, PCMH is designed around you.

To learn more about PCMH, visit and click on Programs & Studies at the top of the page. You can find a list of PCMH-designated physicians by going to and clicking on Find Doctor at the top of the homepage. On the Find a Doctor page, you’ll see a link to a directory of PCMH-designated physicians.

Blue Cross will be designating additional PCMH physicians in July, so stay tuned.

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