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Medical Homes Can Help Control Insurance Costs

Patient-Centered Medical Home survey marks big step toward statewide collaboration

November 29, 2011

Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen today announced Montana's next step toward a new, made-in-Montana model for health care delivery to reduce costs and improve quality. Lindeen previously created an advisory council on patient-centered medical homes to study how Montana can lower health care costs, improve access to quality care, achieve better health outcomes across the state, and rein in insurance premiums.

“A patient-centered medical home is not so much a place, as it is a community of medical providers transforming health care and working together to keep people well," said Lindeen. "Medical homes also have the potential to save money for Montana families and small businesses. I'm happy to report that all of Montana's major health insurers have joined our effort and are actively working with medical providers and patient advocates on this revolutionary approach."

Work on the medical home initiative has been underway since 2009 when Montana Medicaid received a grant from the National Academy for State Health Policy to advance medical homes in Montana. Lindeen's office took over the initiative to better incorporate private insurers, who will pay incentives to participating doctors based on health outcomes rather than the number of services provided under the model. Efforts shifted into high gear when Lindeen formed an advisory council in August comprised of insurance experts, medical providers, and consumer advocates to recommend standards for medical homes, a framework for a future program, and legal changes for Lindeen to pursue in Montana's next legislature.

Today, Lindeen announced her office will collect data from a survey of Montana's medical providers to determine how the Medical Home model can be molded to fit Montana's unique needs. Hospitals and other providers have been exploring and implementing parts of the medical home model over time, but without any coordination or consistency across the state

“For years, health care costs have been spiraling out of control. It's time we looked at the way we deliver and pay for medical care. A patient-centered, cooperative approach to health care can help control costs and provide higher quality care across the state," said Lindeen.

The survey results will help Lindeen's office build on the experiences of providers and draft medical home guidelines for the next legislature. By setting clear standards for medical homes, insurers can offer incentives to medical home providers and patients can easily identify which providers operate as true medical homes.

Lindeen and the advisory council will evaluate the results of the survey at the end of the year and use them to create educational materials for providers who are interested in medical homes. Lindeen's office plans on coordinating a series of webinars to teach providers how they can start transforming their own practices into a medical home.

For more information on the advisory council's efforts, contact the CSI office at 800-332-6148 or visit the CSI website at csi.mt.gov. Medical providers and practice managers can take the medical home survey here