|Arkansas Blues Taps Seven Medical Practices For Pilot Program
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has chosen seven
existing Arkansas medical practices to serve in a patient-centered
medical home pilot program.
The patient-centered medical home encourages a partnership between patients and doctors in it:
- Each patient has an ongoing relationship with his or her primary care doctor who provides personalized comprehensive care.
- The doctor will lead a team of health care professionals who will take responsibility for ongoing care.
- The doctor’s practice will be responsible for
providing or arranging for the health care needs of each patient based
on evidence-based medicine (treatments that have been proven to work).
- Special attention will be paid to providing patients
with preventive care and chronic illness support and management as well
as better access to care.
- Enhanced patient education will be provided to help
patients adopt healthy lifestyles and better understand and manage
"This model has potential to change the very culture of
how patients and health care professionals interact," said Dr. Roberta
Monson, an associate medical director for Arkansas Blue Cross.
"It’s an exciting time for patients in these practices because it
could ultimately change how Arkansans receive care."
By using a team approach, medical homes can be sure
patients are cared for by the team member who can best meet their
needs. The team may include advanced practice nurses, dietitians,
pharmacists and other health care professionals as well as their
physician. By using electronic health records, all team members will
have information at their fingertips to provide the best care.
In many situations medical homes have provided better
access to health care, more satisfied patients, and improved health.
The pilot programs will examine if this is possible in primary care
practices in Arkansas.
The seven patient-centered medical homes will be piloted
for two years and, if successful, other locations may be added. The
clinics selected to become medical homes already are established
practices and have chosen to adapt their practices to the requirements
of medical homes and to provide information for tracking their
progress. This information will include measures of quality, access to
care and satisfaction.
Monson said Arkansas Blue Cross decided to become
involved in patient-centered medical homes after recognizing that
Arkansas, and the United States overall, is experiencing a decline in
the number of primary care doctors. Studies show that states with more
primary care doctors tend to have more satisfied patients and deliver
higher quality care.
Address: Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, P.O. Box 2181, Little Rock, AR 72203-2181; (800) 238-8379, www.arkbluecross.com.