Minnesota 'Health Care Homes' Model Shows Promise

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , May 30, 2012

The insurer reports that at least one large urban provider with a health care home in the Twin Cities has seen per member costs drop by 5% in the past year. However, Medica also reports that a similar large urban health system in the same area saw a 2.6% increase in costs for the same period. Medica did not identify the providers.

As for improved outcomes, the HealthPartners Research Foundation has been studying health care homes and said that preliminary findings indicate that they "have significantly better performance scores for diabetes and cardiovascular disease than non-health care home clinics."

Contrast the progress seen in the Minnesota health care homes pilot with ongoing problems in access to healthcare. For example, a recent survey from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that one-in-five ED patients who were sick but did not need an inpatient bed said their primary care doctor told them to go to the ED for care

Coordinated, wellness- and prevention-oriented services provided at health care homes in Minnesota and in other states won't eliminate needless and expensive trips to the ED. However, it's a good bet that those patients walking into the ED for non-emergent care won't be coming from health care homes.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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