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Blue Cross of Louisiana is following Dr Berwick’s advice to act locally. For years in Louisiana care was delivered by specialists in the usual disjointed, uncoordinated fashion driven by dominant hospitals and medical schools. On December 2 a summit was held at the Pennington Research Center in Baton Rouge to initiate a sea change in the way care is delivered. They announced the rapid deployment of a primary care based patient centered medical home delivery model. In their press release, they cite the following data as contributing to this change:

According to the review, in South Carolina, patients in the patient-centered medical home started by Blue Cross and Blue Shield had medical and pharmacy costs that were 6.5% lower than the control group. Patients in a similar Blue Cross program in North Dakota saw hospital admissions drop by 6% and emergency room visits fall by 24%. During that same period, in the control group, hospital admissions were up by 45% and emergency room visits rose by 3%.

They go on to say

“The healthcare industry is facing unprecedented change. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has answered the call for new and innovative delivery models by embracing the concept of the patient-centered medical home,” said Mike Reitz, Blue Cross President and CEO.

“Accountable, collaborative, coordinated care delivered through the patient-centered medical home will transform healthcare delivery,” said Dr Kenneth Phenow, Blue Cross Chief Medical Officer. “As an industry, we have evolved as far as we can using costly, fragmented, fee-for-service payment. As we transform, pay-for-value models like those embodied by the PCMH approach will help us achieve better health and better care at a better cost.”

Mike Reitz reiterates his support for the concept as well as the importance of primary care on a video captured by Bayou Buzz found here.

This was e-mailed to me by Paul Grundy under the headline “PCMH as seen explained in the deep red states by an enlightened plan.” Anyone from Alabama listening?