Backers Say Reform Boosts Medical Home Concept

Today's ACOEM webinar on the concept comes as occupational physicians are increasingly being asked to help HR departments improve workers' health.

The health reform bill passed Sunday night includes important gains for primary care, including support for the patient centered medical home (PCMH) concept, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Lori J. Heim, M.D., FAAFP, said after the bill had passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The academy represents more than 94,000 physicians and medical students.

"As a result of today's vote, Americans can look forward to health security because they soon will have the chance to buy health insurance that meets their needs without emptying their bank accounts. It opens the door to a reformed health delivery system by paying a bonus for primary care services, which sends a message acknowledging the value of primary care physicians. It also encourages broader testing of the patient-centered medical home and focuses on paying for quality rather than quantity. It begins to invest in the primary care physician workforce as the foundation of a more efficient and effective health care system for this country," Heim said. "This legislation is the beginning. We would have liked to see this bill provide a permanent solution for Medicare payments to doctors. It could have gone further on medical malpractice reform. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the medical community and with Congress for improvements in these and other areas."

The bill sets Medicaid payment rates for primary care services, such as those offered by family physicians, equal to 100 percent of Medicare payment rates, including payments for office visits and immunizations in 2013 and 2014. Heim said AAFP and other primary care groups have backed the provisions for a long time and will continue to work to make them permanent.

The connection between PCMH and occupational medicine will be explored today in an American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine webinar from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDT. Speakers are Ray Fabius, MD, president and CMO of HealthNEXT (Newtown Square, Pa.); Paul Grundy, MD, MPH, FACOEM, director of Healthcare Transformation and president of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative for IBM Corp. (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.); and Bruce W. Sherman, MD, FACOEM, medical director, Global Services for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Akron, Ohio). The cost of the webinar is $59 for ACOEM members, $79 for non-members. ACOEM notes PCMH incorporates prevention, behavioral health, and primary care, and it says occupational physicians increasingly are being asked to help HR departments improve workers' health. For information, visit this page.

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