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Minnesota 'Health Care Homes' Model Shows Promise

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 30, 2012

In addition, Medicare has approved Minnesota as one of eight states that can align with the state program to pay for health care homes. As a result, more than 225,000 Medicare enrollees are expected to be served by health care homes during the three-year project.

A big focus of the Minnesota program is preventive medicine that involves patients and teaches them to better manage chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. In addition, health care home patients are encouraged to adopt health goals that include physical exercise, improved diet, weight loss, and smoking cessation.

The program is new, so state officials concede that it may be difficult right now to gauge or demonstrate its impact on controlling costs and improving quality. There are early indications that they may be on the right path, but reports are mixed.

For example, Medica, the nonprofit health insurance provider that participates in the pilot program, has designed payment models for health care homes that reward improved outcomes.

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