Monday, July 21, 2008

More on the Medical Home

Today's New York Times has an article about the Medical Home concept. These projects are becoming more popular as insurers are deciding to cover the costs. The article refers to a patient who visited his very busy physician that missed a stroke diagnosis because of a hurried exam. While mostly inexcusable, it provides a real life example of the issues occurring every single day due to the system's lack of access, communication, reimbursement, and high-quality. While the article doesn't make specific reference to NPs, Senators from New Mexico, Iowa, Alaska and Maine recently discussed expansion of Medical Home projects to include NPs, and other non-physician providers of primary care to lead medical home demonstrations. Senator Bingamin of New Mexico sums it by saying:

Furthermore, nurse practitioners epitomize the delivery of high quality, cost-effective primary care that is crucial to the medical homes model.

Senator Murkowski of Alaska adds:

Nurse practitioners function as partners in the healthcare of their patients, so that, in addition to clinical services, nurse practitioners focus on health promotion, disease prevention
and health education and counseling, guiding patients to make smarter health and lifestyle choices.

The timing of this NY Times article coincides with a recent report by The Commonwealth Fund, a non profit entity. The report found that the U.S. fails on most measures of health care quality, waiting times, and lack of preventative care. This is just more evidence that we must dramatically change the way healthcare is delivered today.

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