Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has launched what it calls the largest program in the nation to promote the medical home model of care.

The program involves more than 1,000 physicians in nearly 300 primary care practices located across the state. Under the medical home model, primary care practices serve as the focal point for patient care coordination. The model advocates extensive use of information technology to document and coordinate care across all providers and settings, support evidence-based medicine through decision support tools and conduct performance measurement.

The Blues plan has worked with thousands of physicians since 2004 on testing criteria for the new Patient-Centered Medical Home program. About 3,800 physicians are focusing on at least one element of the program. Now, 1,000 early adopters who have made the most progress will be designated as Patient-Centered Medical Homes practices.

Beginning July 1, BCBS of Michigan will increase payments by 10% to physician practices that practice the medical home model. Features include:

* Maximized use of electronic medical records to house and track all medications, medical imaging, test results and additional data

* Expanded office hours and 24-hour access to a caregiver

* Prevention and wellness programs

* Management of chronic conditions

* Use and sharing of best practices

Nearly 300,000 Blues members have access to participating physicians, and the goal is to have the initiative eventually affect nearly 2 million members.

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