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Primary Care Docs Weigh Advantages of PCMH

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 2, 2012

"Primary care physicians who are committed to expanding access, to coordinating care for their patients and being accountable for the quality of care and the health outcomes of those patients, will get paid more than they do today, and we're committed to helping them achieve these quality and cost goals," Harlan Levine, MD, WellPoint executive vice president, Comprehensive Health Solutions, said in a media release.

"Primary care is the foundation of medicine, and it can and should be the foundation of our members' health."

Levine said that WellPoint's medical home models have seen an 18% decrease in acute inpatient admissions and a 15% decrease in total ER visits, while also improving compliance with evidence-based treatment and preventative care guidelines.

The AAFP's Stream says WellPoint's announcement that it will pay for care management "sends a message to primary care physicians that there is an advantage for them to transform practices because payments will align with that," he says.

"We have had a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem with patient-centered medical homes," he says. "Physicians say 'pay us more we will transform the practice.' The plans say 'transform practice and we'll pay you more.' Our responsibility in the academy is to see that there are enough of these plans moving to this payment model in an assured way so we can communicate and assist our members in transforming."

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