Usually, when Medicare sneezes, other payers and providers catch a cold. However, despite a recent finding by the CMS that medical homes—a model meant to improve quality of care and lower costs—don't save money at community health centers, administrators at the facilities are sticking with them.
Why? Providers at these centers say they are happy with the increases in quality of life patients are experiencing, and some questioned the applicability of the study.
"This study doesn't apply to real life" because the study didn't examine the progress of medical homes at the facilities long enough, said Dr. Harry Strothers, who heads Navicent Health's Family Health Center in Macon, Ga., in reference to the RAND Corp. study funded by the CMS. It found that federally qualified community health centers that launched a medical home model over the course of a three-year experiment had patients that gained better access to primary-care services, but at the same time Medicare spending rose slightly. The agency ended up spending $37 more on Medicare Part B care per beneficiary per year under the experiment than before the model launched.