Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun
December 1, 2010
Maryland will soon join a growing list of states in crafting a new way to deliver health care - one that pays doctors extra to both improve quality and cut costs.
The pilot program, which involves 200 doctors and 200,000 patients, will test whether "patient-centered medical homes" can improve primary care, particularly among the chronically ill, and avoid expensive treatments and emergencies.Participating doctors will focus on prevention by developing disease-management plans and more closely tracking prescriptions and trips to specialists. They will also provide extended hours, same-day appointments and electronic communications.
"By focusing on prevention and wellness, we can take a big bite out of chronic disease," said Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who is overseeing health care reforms in Maryland. "And if people visit the emergency department less, costs will be reduced."