|UnitedHealthcare, IBM And Arizona Physicians To Launch Healthcare Initiative
Physicians To Receive Incentives
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, and IBM
unveiled plans for a collaboration with select primary care physician
practices in Arizona to launch a transformative new healthcare
initiative called the "patient-centered medical home" (PCMH) model.
Aimed at strengthening the primary care
patient/physician relationship to enhance communication and service
across the healthcare delivery system, the PCMH model provides
comprehensive, information-supported primary care for children, youth
In the PCMH model, patients receive more comprehensive
and coordinated care from their primary care physician or "medical
home," rather than fragmented and episodic care from various healthcare
providers or facilities operating without all the information needed to
define a safe context for care.
In the PCMH model, primary care physicians partner with
their patients to understand their needs and preferences, manage their
healthcare and facilitate any care needed from other professionals. The
model places special emphasis on preventing disease and improving the
care of chronic conditions, and emphasizes behavioral health support
and patient education – not simply the diagnosis and treatment
ofinjury and illness.
The new pilot program – open to
UnitedHealthcare’s employer-sponsored, Medicare Advantage and
Medicaid health plan customers – will include 4-6 primary-care
practices from UnitedHealthcare’s physician network in Phoenix
and Tucson. UnitedHealthcare will provide the selected primary care
practices with technology, infrastructure support and care
coordination, with the goal of leveraging improved information systems
to enhance patient access to care, the quality and safety of the care
experience and patient satisfaction with healthcare providers.
IBM, with some 386,000 employees around the world, led
in the formation of the physician-employer Patient-Centered Primary
Care Collaborative in 2006, of which most major U.S. trade
associations, consumer groups and leading health benefits and services
companies are now members.
In 2007, IBM spent more than $21 million for Arizona employees and their dependents in health benefits costs.
UnitedHealthcare is IBM’s largest health plan in
Arizona, serving nearly 11,000 beneficiaries. In support of the pilot,
IBM will encourage these employees to seek primary care services from
the physicians participating in the pilot program.
UnitedHealthcare and IBM expect the PCMH model of care
will, over time, assist in lowering overall healthcare costs for
patients and their employers by reducing emergency room visits,
hospitalizations and disabilities that result from the lack of
immediate access to primary care physicians when people have medical
"UnitedHealthcare and IBM are committed to supporting
primary care physicians through the patient-centered medical home
model, which provides for more centralized and comprehensive care that
is focused on preventive care and disease prevention," said Dawn
Bazarko, UnitedHealthcare senior vice president of clinical innovation.
"We believe the patient-centered medical home model enhances the
delivery of higher-quality, more coordinated care, while improving
outcomes and reducing healthcare costs."
The PCMH model of healthcare delivery provides benefits
to physicians as well as patients. Primary care physicians providing
care based on the PCMH model stand to receive enhanced reimbursement in
recognition of superior care coordination and improvements to access,
communications, delivery of preventive and chronic care, and patient
experience and satisfaction.
Addresses: IBM Corporation, 1 New Richard Rd., Armonk, NY 10504; (800) 426-4968, www.ibm.com. UnitedHealth Group, 9900 Bren Rd. East, Minnetonka, MN 55343; (952) 936-1300, www.unitedhealthgroup.com.