S.F. Bay Area Medical Home Pilot Program Sees Positive Results

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San Francisco Bay Area's John Muir Health has seen positive results from a patient-centered medical home pilot program that aims to rein in the cost of treating patients with chronic diseases, Contra Costa Times reports.

Background on Patient-Centered Medical Homes

Across the U.S., health providers are experimenting with patient-centered medical homes, which are designed to lower the cost of treating the 1% of patients with chronic illnesses who account for more than 20% of health spending.

The programs often are based in an office or clinic where physicians work with nurses and other health care providers to coordinate care.

Participating providers have regular contact with patients to educate them about managing their health and make sure they are receiving the proper medical treatments.

Some health systems receive funds from CMS for operating patient-centered medical homes, while other organizations finance the programs on their own.

John Muir Program Results

John Muir Health's patient-centered medical home program -- based in Concord -- began in 2010 and has reported a 43% drop in hospitalizations and a 14% drop in emergency department visits among its patients.

John Muir funds the program on its own.

Michael Kern -- senior vice president and medical director of the John Muir Physician Network -- said, "We probably save twice what [the program] costs us." He added, "These are very complex patients and if they're in the hospital, they're using a lot of resources" (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 3/5).

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