Medical Homes – A Boost To Primary Care

Merrill Goozner

The following appeared 11/24/11 inĀ The Fiscal Times:

Amerigroup Inc., the health insurer for Medicaid patients in Nashville, has a serious problem. Many of its 50,000 inner city, low-income beneficiaries go for their routine care to local hospital emergency rooms, which is the most expensive place for such treatment.

So a year ago, without government help, the company instituted a so-called medical home program, paying extra money to local physicians who care for Medicaid patients. They were asked to hire outreach workers to call patients to make sure they keep appointments, take their medication or simply to check up on how they were doing. The insurer also encouraged physicians to establish same-day scheduling and keep extended hours for patients who call with immediate problems.

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