Medical Home Successes Ignored by Recent Study, Say Pennsylvania Physicians

Pennsylvania physicians, along with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), say that a recent study by the RAND Corporation ignores the successes of patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and is based on the earliest version of medical homes in 2008.

“Before jumping to conclusions about medical homes and our Pennsylvania experience based on this report, it might be best to fully understand what the report actually investigated,” said Bruce MacLeod, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), in a recent statement.

The RAND study evaluated the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chronic Care Initiative begun in 2008, which was one of the earliest medical home pilots in the country. Initially focused on diabetes and pediatric asthma, this early PCMH model emphasized garnering public recognition for the PCMH concept, not necessarily the follow-up work that comes with a PCMH. It only involved 32 practices in one area of the state.

The PCMH quality standards have also evolved since the start of patient-centered medical homes. NCQA updated their standards in 2011 and plans to update them again in March 2014.

“Since the Pennsylvania initiative was launched, we have learned more about how they can best be effective and certainly the model is evolving,” said William Sonnenberg, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians.

Allen Nussbaum, MD, FAAP, president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that the “pediatric practices involved can attest to improvements in patient care for both families and practice staff.”

“Part of providing the best care to patients that we can involves learning from what works and what doesn’t work,” said Dr. MacLeod. “This study adds to that knowledge, but we aren’t giving up on medical homes as an important tool for managing the care of our patients, and we look forward to further research.”