Care delivery is taken for granted when you come to the hospital. No matter where you receive healthcare, you trust that you will receive what you say you need from the provider you go to see – whether it’s a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a counselor, a health coach, etc. Patients also go to see a provider for a variety of things, from a one-time cold to management for chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. You may get what you need each time, but each time you are charged for the service you receive – no matter how much or how little you needed.
It’s no secret that the healthcare system in the United States does not deliver the best care that it can… Think about a similar experience you’ve had to the one described above. Americans pay for the care we receive as though it was the best in the world, but it still has a lot of room for improvement.
To ensure that patients get high-quality care for reasonably low costs, healthcare reform has mandated the transformation of healthcare delivery. The Affordable Care Act has put new laws and new processes in place to achieve a “three-part aim” – improving the experience of care for individuals, improving the health of entire populations, and lowering the cost of receiving care.
At Logansport Memorial Hospital, we are on board with those changes. In fact, we have embraced those changes by completely changing the way we provide care for our patients. Logansport Memorial Hospital is working toward becoming accredited and recognized as a “medical home” to follow a patient-centered medical home model of care. We also recently joined the National Rural Accountable Care Organization (NRACO) to better analyze and coordinate the care for specific patient populations that we serve.
Although both of these initiatives stem from the same goals of healthcare reform, they are different from each other. We want you to understand what you will see and experience as a result of these changes so that you understand how you can be involved in your care.
Patient-Centered Medical Home Model
Essentially, the “medical home model” outlines how we will now deliver your care as our patient. It is a focused approach to primary care that emphasizes wellness, prevention, quality and safety. It also requires and promotes a strong partnership between patients and their primary care providers. As a patient, you need to take equal responsibility for your health and work with your physician to manage changes that you experience or think you need to make. This model of care helps facilitate that for you.
Delivering care through the “medical home model” will also help us monitor and evaluate health outcomes, which are the changes that an individual sees from healthcare visits and activities. These changes can be seen in a patient’s symptoms, in the costs of a patient’s care, or in a patient’s quality of life. Health outcomes are not what is done, but rather what results from what you have done to improve your health. Knowing what they are is beneficial for you and helping you improve them is our goal.
Accountable Care Organization
An accountable care organization (ACO) also focuses on using primary care, but goes beyond it to incorporate other providers as well. It makes a set of providers associated with a defined population of patients accountable for the quality and cost of care delivered to that specific population. The set of providers can include primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, specialists, counselors, health coaches, and other hospital staff.
An ACO utilizes collaboration among everyone involved in your care to coordinate it appropriately for you and for others in the same identified population. As an ACO, we will be held to even higher quality standards than what we achieve now, and we will have nationally recognized benchmarks to meet that track and measure our performance.
Patients become part of the population in an ACO when they are notified with a letter. If you receive a letter from Logansport Memorial Hospital about this, it will tell you that you have been selected to be part of the population within our NRACO. If chosen, you can decide whether or not to participate by giving your consent to us for accessing medical information about you.
Your providers will only use that information to monitor the changes in your care and how they relate to improvements in your quality of life. Increased follow-up from providers and staff will help you feel better and live better. Rest assured that your information will remain private, secure and protected, only being used to improve your health.
Both the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model and an Accountable Care Organization have the same basic goal – to use primary care in new ways that coordinates your care and ultimately improves your health. Both of these have the potential to drive higher-quality care at a lower cost for you. These are the same goals that Logansport Memorial Hospital has always had for you, and we are willing to make sure we change ourselves and our processes to help you get there.
If you have questions about either of these initiatives, please don’t hesitate to contact Crystal Zinsmeister, LMH Care Coordinator for our medical home model and the NRACO. She can be reached at (574) 753-1317.