MINSTER — An area family practice has been selected as one of 44 practices in the state to participate in a pilot project.
Dr. Robert Gill’s family practice in Minster will be the first Patient-Centered Medical Home in the Grand Lake Health System, participating in a program made possible when Ohio House Bill 198 passed last year. The program “managed by the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, with assistance from TransforMED, is intended to increase the number of primary care physicians serving patients and to reduce costs while improving practice efficiency and quality of care through use of the Patent-Centered Medical Home model of health care,” according to a news release issued by Grand Lake Health System.
Grand Lake Health System Executive Director of Physician Practices Michelle Wasmund said the Patient-Centered Medical Home model is a different way of practicing medicine.
“It’s basically a more proactive model of care than what exists in the system today,” she said. “In a typical physician’s office, the patient visits are made themselves. They call and say they need an appointment, and the person that they call and talk to asks what they need an appointment for, and that reason is entered into their system and that’s what drives the care that the patient receives when they visit the practice.”
A Patient-Centered Medical Home, she said, involves a team that proactively looks for the needs of a patient.
“A Patient-Centered Medical Home is more proactive,” Wasmund said.
“The health care team is looking at the care needs of their panel of patients and contacting their patients when they have a need — for a physical, for screening tests, if they happen to have a chronic disease process going on, they may be contacting the patient, asking them how they are doing with their plan of care to follow up from what was established with the physician. It’s a very different form of delivery from what patients experience today.”
Wasmund said electronic records are vital for this model of health care.
“One of the keys is the electronic records,” she said. “It really allows the medical records to be better managed so that the health care team can look at the bigger picture for the patients and involve the patient in their own care.”
To qualify for the pilot program, Wasmund said Gill applied and was notified of his acceptance in July. As part of the program, she said, Gill’s practice will also be an educational site.
“One of the things he needed to do as part of the application process was affiliate with the medical teaching school at Wright State,” Wasmund said. “Essentially he agreed to accept nurse practitioner or physician residents and be an educational site for them.”
She noted that the program is not funded.
“That’s an unfunded mandate,” Wasmund said. “So while the state passed that law that they would have the pilot project for a Patient-Centered Medical Home, they did not provide any funding for it. The project itself is still in search of how they fund the expense of the transformation that the practices involved are going to have to go through in order to deliver a new model of care.”
Changes in Gill’s practice have already started, Wasmund said.
“We’re already making some small, behind-the-scenes changes,” Wasmund said, noting that the practice, along with all practices in the Grand Lake Health System, has access to care for its patients and has implemented the use of electronic records. “We’ve been making a lot of behind-the-scenes changes in preparation for this change.”
Wasmund noted that the change is not intended for physicians to make more money, but to provide patients with better care.
“When the offices begin implementing this type of care model, there will be more requests for the patient to come in, instead of waiting for the patient to call,” Wasmund said. “There’s a natural public suspicion that the doctor’s motivation is money, and that’s not the motivation in this at all. It’s about better care for the patient now because that will avoid some of the more serious health problems that people develop later because they’re not getting the health care now that they need.”
Wasmund said Gill and other doctors in the Grand Lake Health System are accepting new patients.
For more information on Gill and the Grand Lake Health System, visit GrandLakeHealth.org.