NFCA: Medical Homes: A Bad Name to Describe Something Quite Good

These next two weeks, we’re posting some great articles recently published by the National Family Caregiver Association. If you have never heard of them, I strongly urge you to check out their website at: http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org/

Suzanne Mintz, President and CEO, National Family Caregivers Association

The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) is designed to change the way healthcare is provided and financed. Many of the provisions in this new legislation will help caregiving families, although they don’t specifically mention family caregivers. However, NFCA has identified 17 distinct sections that do. They include provisions that require doctors to get our assessment of whether we and our loved ones have been treated well (Isn’t that cool!), and others designed to make transitions of care from hospital to home or rehab as error-free as possible. It is really very exciting.

The provisions that I think will have the biggest impact on family caregivers’ day-to-day interactions with healthcare professionals and the healthcare system in general can be grouped together under the heading “System Delivery Reform.” The Affordable Care Act calls for the establishment of a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Sec 3021). Its purpose is to test various models of care that are designed to be patient and family centered, holistic in their approach, and that use health information technology (health IT) to interact with patients, family caregivers, multiple healthcare providers, and, in some cases, social service providers. The operable words here are “test various models.” On a real-time basis, that means that most of us won’t have an opportunity to work with physicians and other healthcare providers who will be providing care in these new ways anytime soon, because these will be demonstration or pilot programs. Down the road, however, when various models prove effective in providing better care and creating better outcomes for patients, families and the government, these models will start to become the norm.

Read the whole article at the NFCA website here.

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