While Congress argues over how to reform the health care system, they agree on one thing: family practitioners should be the center. The plan is to create a “patient-centered medical home”. These homes would be run by general practitioners and would be the place people first went to for any medical needs. The family doctor would coordinate all the nurses, pharmacists, and specialists needed to care for the patient. In 2004, the US calculated that if everyone had a “patient-centered medical home”, we would save 5.6% or 64 billion dollars a year.

Today, patients don’t get to spend much time with their general practitioner as the doctors are forced to rush through patients only dealing with one issue at a time. This results in people going to specialists for issues that could be handled by a family doctor. Since physicians coordinate with each other very little, unnecessary costs often result. Additionally, emergency rooms are forced to treat minor illnesses because it is nearly impossible to get a last minute appointment at general practitioner.

The new “patient-centered medical home” is designed to help patients as much as it will keep costs low. Patients will have a central figure who can oversee their care and provide them with easy access. The plan is not controversial and a relatively easy way to organize the disarray of the current system that is wasting money.

Big companies are also supporting the plan. IBM is one of the most vocal advocates. The company ends up paying one month’s income on health benefits for employees annually. Along with 500 corporations, they started the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative to show that the plan will work.Four medical societies are supporting the plans, and several states are starting pilot programs. President Obama is also behind the initiative.

America is far behind the plan as only 27% of physician practices are close to qualifying as a medical home. By investing in this system, preventative care will be the focus. By having a physician know your case closely, they can detect problems before they get out of control. For example, if a patient is at risk for becoming diabetic, the doctor can identify the issue and help the patient make lifestyle changes to offset the diabetes.

Although the government is working to reduce the cost of health care, it is still expensive. Therefore, it is important you have a good health insurance plan to reduce your costs. For more information on health insurance, visit http://www.texashealthinsuranceoptions.com today.

Joseph Devine

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