Medical homes have become such a common part of any discussion of healthcare coordination that one might think they?re everywhere.

They?re not. The National Committee for Quality Assurance announced May 7 that more than 10,000 medical office sites now have the patient-centered medical home recognition. That amounts to 48,617 clinicians in 50 states.

While the movement has come a long way from the 214 clinicians with the PCMH recognition in 2008, it is still adopted by only one in five practicing primary-care physicians, according to my calculations.

The American Medical Association puts the number of practicing PCPs at 246,090. We can assume that some of those are in other medical home programs or may be doing most of the things associated with them without the official recognition. Plus, there likely are thousands of California PCPs who have avoided the official PCMH label because they felt they were already ahead of the movement.

But that still leaves a lot of PCPs who have not caught the PCMH wave.

In just over four years, PCPs will have more incentive to move into medical homes as Medicare changes its payment system. One of the paths physicians can take away from fee-for-service payment is the alternative payment model, which subjects physicians to value-based metrics and clinical practice improvement scores. If a practice offers a medical home, it automatically gets the highest improvement score, and likely more compensation.

Physicians complain mightily of the administrative burden of keeping up with all of the quality metrics associated with the various programs. As Medicare and other payers shift payment models, however, the measures will be a fact of life.

For pharmaceutical sales and account managers, medical homes have helped to open doors for conversations about a drug's value in treating a patient and keeping the patient compliant with medication, satisfied with his or her care, and out of the hospital. If medical homes ever really do take on a critical mass, those conversations could make the door swing open even wider.

Follow Jane DuBose on Twitter @JaneGDuBoseDRG

A Look Ahead: Medical Aesthetics Market Recovery in 2021 and Beyond

View Now