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How the Medical Home May Save Primary Care

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, September 6, 2013

The familiar physician is a play on the old concept of the family physician, which he says went away with the advent of managed care.

"Primary care physicians became the gatekeepers. Instead of getting patients closer to primary care, which is more cost effective, the exact opposite happened," he says. "Instead of increasing the value of primary care, the system made it so you had to get through the primary care doctor before you get the 'real care' you needed, which led to a crisis in identity and value."

In an effort to get back to what made medicine attractive to him initially, consulting, cajoling, and helping his patients, he had to delegate, which is one of the main tenets of Grundy's patient centered medical home concept.

Anderson says he just paid attention to his instincts. He came up with what he called "family team care," and taught his nurses to do everything in the exam room that a physician did not have to do.

"It cut my time in the room in half and yet gave us a better product," he says.

The first full year, his collections went up by $100,000. Given that his practice had been losing $80,000 a year, that put it back into the black. But the bigger transformation was among his staff's morale as well as his own.

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