Ronald Whitten, a licensed clinical social worker, is excited about the idea of being a patient in a “medical home.’’
A medical home, in this context, is not a residential institution. It’s a physician practice that aims to provide more comprehensive, patient-friendly treatment while also curbing health costs.
Dr. Jennifer Zreloff
Whitten, 70, a retired Emory faculty member who’s on Medicare, is convinced of the medical home’s benefits. He’s a patient of Dr. Jennifer Zreloff, an Emory Clinic internist.
Care for Whitten’s chronic conditions are coordinated under one medical practice, so he doesn’t have to visit several clinicians. Zreloff’s practice also offers the services of a nutritionist and a psychologist. Patients can communicate with a physician via email.
The concept of a patient-centered medical home — which combines the modern-day advantages of computerized medical data with the old-time convenience of having a familiar doctor — is catching on across the country. More primary care practices have started to provide team care, and almost 7,000 have already been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as patient-centered medical homes.
In Georgia, health insurers such as Aetna, Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and WellCare have launched medical home-style programs. Many seniors and adults under 65 appear to prefer this style of medicine.
Nationally, a recently released survey of adults 65 and older found that medical home services are still relatively uncommon, with just 27 percent reporting receiving this care. Yet 83 percent of those getting this team-based care say it has improved their health. And among those not getting these services, 73 percent would want this type of care, the survey of 1,000 older adults sponsored by the John A. Hartford Foundation. full story