A Watershed Year: What 2013 Holds for the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH)


by Jaan Sidorov

First posted on the Disease Management Care Blog on 12/28/2012

Jaan Sidorov, host of Disease Management Care Blog

The savvy Jeff Levin-Scherz, who blogs over at Managing Healthcare Costs has responded to the Disease Management Care Blog’s snarky “Prattling Pinheads of Pessimism” post on the topic of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH).

He’s not a nattering nabob of negativity or a prattling pessimistic pinhead, says he.  He’d like to be thought of as askeptic seeking substantiation.   The DMCB wholeheartedly approves of the agreeable alliterative appellation.

2013 may well turn out to be the watershed decision year for the PCMH:

If there’s no published peer-reviewed proof that it reduces health care costs, nabobs, pinheads, skeptics and policymakers will need to decide if no evidence of an impact on costs is the same as evidence of no impact on costs.

If the answer is no, THEN we’ll then have to decide if the traditional “X causes Y” mathematical approaches to derive proof (such as a comparison of averages using standard power calculations and/or impact on expected or observeed trend) are equal to the task in a very “statistically noisy” environment involving complicated human beings.

If that answer is no, THEN we’ll have to decide if reasonable and informed assessments of potential cost reductions, used by countless other businesses every day in other sectors of the economy, are good enough,

If that answer is no, THEN we’ll have to decide if there is face valueto the PCMH. This involves a contrast of any patient benefit versus its incremental cost.  If the benefit is worth the cost…..

THEN we may have to decide if consumers are willing to pay for it, or if health care costs will need to be cut elsewhere to pay for it.

Stay tuned!

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Jaan Sidorov MD is the Host of the Disease Management Care Blog where he shares his knowledge and insights about medical home, disease management, population-based health care and managed care. He is a primary care internist and former Medical Director at Geisinger Health Plan with over 20 years experience in primary care, disease management and population-based care coordination. He is primary care by training, managed care by experience and population-based care strategies by disposition. The contents of his blog reflect only his opinions and should not be interpreted to have anything to do with any current or past employers, clients, customers, friends, acquaintances or enemies, personal, professional, foreign or domestic.