apta-healA news release from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) announces that patient-centered medical home (PCMH) initiatives nationwide have exhibited decreases in cost of care, visits to emergency departments, and inpatient admissions. The Patient-Centered Care Collaborative documented the outcomes in an annual update of evidence.

The APTA notes that the update reviewed 20 studies released between August 2012 and December 2013. These studies, the APTA adds, were comprised of 13 peer-reviewed studies and seven industry-generated studies.

However, the report authors caution that the supporting evidence remains in its “early” stages and the update itself is not “a formal peer-reviewed meta-analysis.” Rather, the evidence, “suggests that when fully transformed primary care practices have embraced the PCMH model of care, we find a number of consistent, positive outcomes.”

These positive outcomes include a reduction of costs, reported in 12 of the 20 studies, with the same numbers reporting deceases in ED visits. Additional results indicate that inpatient admissions were reported as decreasing in four of the industry analyses and four of the peer-reviewed studies. The APTA also states that while four of the peer-reviewed studies suggested improvements in patient access to care, only one of the industry analyses indicated improvements in this area.

Readmission rates also saw improvement, along with overall population health indicators, and preventive services, though, researchers point out, less consistently than reported improvements in cost and emergency department visits.

According to the update’s authors, the reports reinforce the argument that the PCMH model’s benefits tend to accrue over time, and primary care practices could potentially see significant improvements in outcomes if other policy changes are put in place that veer away from the free-for-service model toward “one that rewards quality, efficiency, and innovation.”

The APTA adds that the report also highlighted the potential end to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) in current discussion by Congress, a change that it notes could significantly assist in moving towards new models of care.

[Source: APTA]