By Lisa Fisher
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska
We all know health care needs to get better—including costs coming down. Most of us can’t sustain the rising costs that come every year, and we all want the highest-quality care we can find.
With a goal of enhancing health care and making it more affordable, “Patient-Centered Medical Home” programs are forming across the country, including here in Nebraska. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska has partnered with 164 doctors and 33 clinics throughout the state to implement the medical home program, which is designed to impact 42,000 BCBSNE customers.
What is a patient-centered medical home?
It’s a medical office or clinic in which your personal physician delivers or coordinates the majority of your health care. Medical homes provide timely access to your personal primary care physician, and those facilities use technology, such as electronic medical records, to communicate and coordinate your care for the best possible results.
How does the patient benefit?
A key component of the program is to reward doctors for better patient outcomes rather than the traditional fee-for-service model that pays for the number of services provided.
In a medical home scenario, you are at the center of the care team. Your team serves as “coaches” who help you get healthy, stay healthy and get the care and services that are right for you. The team will help you understand your condition and how to take care of yourself.
What results will patients see?
Results show that medical home programs help improve the health of individuals, increase patient satisfaction, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and decrease overall health costs.
What can you do?
- If your doctor is not participating in a medical home program, the same principles of the program can still apply. For example, communicate with your health care team. Take a written list of any questions you may have to your appointments. Ask questions so you understand the reasons for your team’s recommendations.
- If you don’t have a personal physician, find one. You should have a doctor and his or her medical team that serves as your home for all health care needs. To find a local doctor, Nebraskans can download our app onto their iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.
- Take charge of your health by understanding your health situation and asking questions about your care. Learn about your condition and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. Take your medications as prescribed and keep scheduled appointments.