Patients need to understand benefits of 'medical home'

Meredith Cohn's article "State looks to improve care, cut costs through patient-centered homes" (Dec. 12) describes the efforts of Maryland insurers to encourage the establishment of "medical homes" in practices across the state. This is a concept promoted and practiced by pediatricians since the 1960s, and now widely embraced by both the United States Congress in its recent health care legislation and the medical community.

While the establishment of medical homes is an admirable goal, we will have little success until the public understands the value of comprehensive, coordinated care. In practice, our scope of medical care is challenged daily by walk-in clinics and emergency rooms. Visits to these facilities are often during the extended hours that primary care practices provide for the convenience of families.

As physicians, we are committed to quality care and improved, cost-efficient service. The consumer must grasp the notion that the medical home is the best avenue to better health for all Marylanders.

Dr. Daniel J. Levy

The writer is the national spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and past president of the AAP's Maryland Chapter.

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