Health centers encouraged to become medical homes, receive HHS grants

Nearly 250 health centers are the proud recipients of grants that will allow them to reform the way they provide care by shifting to the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model. These centers are located in 41 states, D.C., the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Federation of Micronesia, and will share in the $8.6 million in funding provided by HHS.

PCMH

Medical homes offer patients an opportunity to have additional input in their care, as well as a central location for care coordination. Primary care providers are able to better coordinate with specialists through this model, and patients are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process along with the providers. The PCMH model also encourages providers to take into account each patient’s unique conditions, circumstances, and preferences when coordinating care (see Medical homes change primary care, but reimbursement questions remain, Health Law Daily, May 3, 2016).

Grants

This grant funding is provided through the Community Health Center (CHC) fund, established by section 10503 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) and extended in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) (P.L. 114-10). HHS Secretary Burwell stated that these grants will allow better coordination of a broad range of health care services, including dental services and behavioral health care along with primary care. Although 65 percent of health centers are recognized as having some PCMH qualities, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) believes that this funding will allow more health centers to better focus on coordinating care. Health centers provide care for about 23 million patients across the country and territories.