Friday, August 20, 2010

Medical Homes: A Look at Illinois Health Connect

State Medicaid programs have the potential to conserve taxpayers’ money while providing families with more personalized care. The Robert Graham Center recently published a study that highlights the success of Illinois Health Connect, which saved the state $140 million in 2009. The initiative assigns Medicaid recipients in Illinois to primary care doctors, who are responsible for coordinating all of the families’ healthcare needs. The arrangement, better known as "medical homes," centralizes patient care; one physician is responsible for treating, referring, and continually following up on a particular patient. Such an approach minimizes costs by eliminating administrative expenses, improving the health of patients, and subsequently by the decline in hospital visits (doctor’s offices provide specialized care at a lower cost than most hospitals).

A recent news report characterizes medical homes as the future of national healthcare reform. The efficiency and affordability of Illinois Health Connect could serve as a model for policymakers reforming their State Medicaid programs.

For more on the relationship between increased healthcare access and improving a child’s performance in school.