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Horizon Healthcare, an affiliate of Fairfield Memorial Hospital, is pleased to announce that they have achieved the designation of becoming a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).  In recent years, the patient-centered medical home (PCMH)—often referred to in its abbreviated form, the “medical home”—care delivery model has become one of the hottest topics in healthcare. Based on a holistic, patient-centered approach, the PCMH represents a methodology aimed at fostering increased collaboration among patients, healthcare providers and health plans. As such, the PCMH is widely believed to offer the best hope to transform and improve the national healthcare system as a whole.
For example, there are healthcare systems that were part of a pilot project that reduced hospital readmissions by 18% through their medical home programs.  There is also evidence from ongoing PCMH pilots that have resulted in a 9.6% overall reduction in costs. This means savings for not only the patient, but also the overall cost of healthcare. 
The PCMH is viewed as a reversal of the longstanding episode-based methodology that has been prevalent in healthcare for many years. Unlike the episodic-based care, the PCMH encourages patients and their providers to work closely together to ensure that care is increasingly comprehensive, coordinated, and consistent. In essence, the medical home helps facilitate a better ongoing, full-spectrum approach to patient care that requires the primary healthcare provider and the patients themselves to maintain complete awareness of their specific healthcare needs and experiences. 
“We are quite excited about this new designation as a PCMH here at Horizon Healthcare.  The PCMH approach will help us further streamline and deliver appropriate care, reduce waste, lower costs and, most importantly, have even better outcomes for our patients,” stated Hollie Barrett, RN, BSN, Horizon Healthcare’s Director of Physician Practice.
The Benefits to Patients and Providers
In addition to the national healthcare improvements it is expected to foster, the PCMH can also offer distinct sets of benefits for healthcare's primary stakeholders—patients, providers, and health plans. In a medical home structure, the patient is aligned with a primary care provider whose primary function is to manage the patient's health across the care spectrum.
The primary care provider interfaces on the patient's behalf with the health plan, specialists, pharmacists, labs, and other stakeholders to formulate a more efficient and holistic approach to treatment. This normally results in a more informed and engaged patient—one who has more simplified access to care, better understands his or her own needs, and is more likely to comply with treatment recommendations and suggested preventive measures.
For healthcare providers, the PCMH fosters an environment of transparent reporting on progress toward measurable outcomes that could potentially result in certain medical home incentives and bonus payments. Such additional reimbursement provides a benefit to society as a whole, because it addresses the primary care shortage that is predicted to occur if current trends in healthcare continue. This is important, because primary care is the foundation of the healthcare system. In areas where primary care is strong, patients have better outcomes and are more satisfied, while health disparities and healthcare costs are lower.  Fairfield Memorial Hospital has very strong primary care and is fortunate to have excellent outcomes for their rural designation.  
Technology Key to Success of the Medical Home
The PCMH model is greatly predicated on the effective use of technology, which is clearly outlined in the healthcare reform law. Technology is the most promising means of enabling the very collaboration among healthcare stakeholders that is the foundation for the medical home concept itself. In particular, analytics technology—especially that which is focused on optimizing care management and quality reporting—will be key to the success of the medical home approach and to optimizing health outcomes.
Technology will enable medical home participants to receive patient data that have been analyzed and to identify factors such as gaps in care and medication adherence. This more inclusive, 360-degree view of the patient's information that spans the full continuum of care, regardless of where the patient is seen, will enable more focused plans of care.

“Horizon Healthcare is quite pleased to be on the forefront of implementing the PCMH concept, and we are looking forward to even more great outcomes that will come to our patients due to our decision to remain on the cutting edge of healthcare for our community,” said, Marla Lafikes, M.D., Medical Director of Horizon Healthcare.

Pictured are Horizon PCMH Team members: Sherrie Blackford, Practice Assistant; Angelina Batteese, Clinic Informatics Coordinator; Liz Molt, Office Coordinator, Hollie Barrett, RN, BSN, Director of Physician Practice; Marla Lafikes, M.D., Medical Director; Brenda Ware-Roge, RN, BSN, CCM, Care Coordinator; and Shaylene Todd, RN. 

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