Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan now has 1,800 physicians in about 500 practices across the state designated as patient-centered medical home providers, compared with 1,200 designated physicians a year ago.

Another 5,000 physicians are working toward designation as medical home practices, according to the Detroit-based Blues plan.

Preliminary data suggests designated practices are better managing patient care to improve quality and reduce costs. Medical home practices have a 2 percent lower rate of adult radiology usage than other practices, and a 2.6 percent lower rate of adult inpatient admissions.

Under the medical home model, physician practices are designated patients' "medical home" to coordinate the continuum of care. The practices are redesigned to be more functional and workflow-friendly, and new processes are developed to focus on quality, safety and alternative reimbursement methods. The care model also calls for extensive use of health information technologies, including electronic health records, e-prescribing, clinical decision support, secure messaging and Web portal software.

The medical home program in Michigan extends to patients in a practice regardless of whether they have Blue Cross insurance. Consequently, the plan believes the model is reaching nearly 2 million residents.

--Joseph Goedert


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