A new University of Minnesota School of Public Health evaluation of health care homes found that over a five-year evaluation period the model – emphasizing collaboration among care providers, families, and patients – saved Medicaid and Medicare approximately $1 billion. At the same time, clinics participating in a health care home (HCH) model of care outperformed other clinics on quality measures.
The results come from a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)-funded evaluation of health care homes, done in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), and led by investigator and School of Public Health Professor Douglas Wholey.
Additional findings suggest potentially significant savings if the Medicaid, Medicare, and Dual Eligible patients who were not in an HCH during this period were in a health care home.
“Having had the opportunity to closely observe Minnesota’s health care home initiative during our evaluation of it, I am impressed by the positive results, thorough planning, and effective implementation,” said Dr. Wholey.
Within an HCH, primary care providers, families, and patients work in partnership to improve health outcomes and quality of life for patients, including those with chronic conditions or disabilities. HCHs use a team approach that gives patients and caregivers access to health care services and support.
To be certified, clinics meet a rigorous set of requirements related to their ability to provide care that is coordinated, patient-centered, and team-based. About 3.6 million Minnesotans receive care in clinics certified as HCHs.
This study of HCHs is the second of two legislatively mandated reports. An initial report was released in February 2014.
The report, which evaluates the HCH initiative from 2010 through 2014, analyzed Medicaid and Medicare claims data comparing the use and cost of services between certified HCH clinics and non-HCHs. Results include:
To gain a deeper understanding of HCHs and their context, members of the University of Minnesota team are now studying risk adjustment for quality measurement and are continuing to study the correlates of effective inter-professional care teams.