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Small physician practices that care for children unprepared to become medical homes
Date:3/7/2013

Ann Arbor, Mich. Primary care practices around the country are being encouraged and even paid to become "medical homes," but small practices might be at a significant disadvantage in this race to improve health care for children, according to a new study by child health experts at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

Efforts around the country to improve health care for children have increasingly focused on the medical home as a model to make primary care practices more accessible, comprehensive, and focused on quality improvement. Since 2008, practices could become officially recognized as a medical home by documenting that they meet specific criteria. Hundreds of primary care practices around the country have sought or are seeking recognition as medical homes.

The new study, published in this month's Pediatrics, shows that pediatric and family medicine practices that serve children, especially those with five or fewer physicians, are relatively unprepared to become recognized as medical homes.

"Getting recognized as a medical home is often the first step for practices to participate in programs that are trying to improve primary care for children. These practices can be at a serious disadvantage," says U-M pediatrician Joe Zickafoose, M.D., M.S., formerly a research fellow with the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and now a health researcher with Mathematica Policy Research.

Recent studies have shown that small primary care practices for adults are at a disadvantage for becoming medical homes, but no large studies have looked at practices for children.

The majority of primary care for children still occurs in small practices with five or fewer physicians. These practices may be less likely to have the additional resources needed to become recognized as medical homes and miss out on the additional resources and financial support that ofte
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Contact: Mary F. Masson
mfmasson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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