Everyone Needs A Medical Home
By Dr. Charles Bentlage, Medical Director
A medical home, sometimes referred to as a health care home or a patient centered medical home, is a system in which a patient receives all of their primary medical care in one location, ideally from a practitioner who knows them and their health history. A bond of trust, the practitioner-patient relationship develops between the patient and their personal practitioner. Responsibility for care and care coordination resides with the patient’s personal practitioner utilizing other members of the health care team as needed. Such a system provides continuity of care and has been proven to result in better health outcomes and decreased cost of care.
The roots of the patient centered medical home reside in the past when our country was primarily rural and health care was provided by a family doctor. As the U.S.A. became more urbanized and medical care became more sophisticated with multiple specialists involved, the role of the primary care practitioner was de-emphasized and health care became more fragmented. Many patients lacking a primary care physician accessed medical care from multiple sources including emergency rooms, urgent care clinics and multiple doctors’ offices at random – anywhere they could get an appointment when the need arose. The all important continuity of care was missing. No single practitioner knew the patient well or assumed responsibility for their overall care. Many times communication between the multiple practitioners was lacking. No single practitioner was coordinating care or knew all of the medications the patient was taking. Such a system was less than ideal.
The benefits of a patient centered medical home are well established and include the following:
- Improved health status for patients
- Increased emphasis on preventive health care measures through pursuit of healthy life styles
- Improved management of chronic disease
- Emphasis on patient education and involvement in disease management
- Decreased inappropriate use of emergency rooms
- Shortened lengths of stay in the hospital
At ACCESS Family we want to become your medical home. We provide care to uninsured patients on a sliding scale based on family income. We also accept Missouri and Kansas Medicaid*, Medicare and some privately insured patients.
*Kansas Medicaid is only accepted at our Joplin Medical clinic.