Ohio invests in patient-centered medical home model

Ohio will invest $1 million to help primary care practices transition to a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. The Ohio Department of Public Health and the governor’s Office of Health Transformation (OHT) announced the funding on Jan. 18.

The investment is intended to reverse two trends in the state: one of the highest rates of per capita healthcare spending in the nation combined with one of the worst records of healthcare outcomes.

"Ohioans spend more per person on healthcare than residents in all but 13 states, but we rank 42nd among states in positive health outcomes,” said Greg Moody, director of the OHT, in a press release. “[This] announcement represents a commitment to reversing that trend and acts on Governor Kasich’s instructions to engage private-sector partners to improve overall health-system performance.”

Funding for the initiative is being channeled from a performance bonus of more than $21 million recently awarded to Ohio by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for upping its enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). The money will be used by a program called the Ohio PCMH Education Pilot Project, which was created by state legislation passed in 2010, but has remained unfunded. The goal of the project was to develop the medical home model in 44 practices across Ohio by providing training for healthcare providers in the PCMH model.

"We will not only implement the PCMH program envisioned in [the legislation] but expand it to include a total of 50 physician practices throughout the state," said Ohio Department of Health Director Ted Wymyslo, MD, in an announcement detailing the program. "In addition, we will give priority to practices that serve underserved or minority populations, and at least 15 percent of every practice that receives training dollars must support either uninsured or Medicaid-eligible Ohioans."

If successful, the program will increase the number of PCMHs in the state by about 50 percent. As of late last year, the National Center for Quality Assurance had certified 104 medical homes in Ohio. In all, the state hopes to train between 1,000 and 1,500 healthcare providers in how to more effectively mange their patient populations under the model.

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