Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published August 26, 2010


Brown speaks at National Harbor symposium for primary care providers, encourages Prince George’s physicians to join pilot program

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (August 26, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown joined primary care providers at the last of seven meetings facilitated by the Maryland Health Care Commission aimed to educated providers about the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) pilot that Maryland will launch in January. Brown has participated in several of the meetings, helping to build interest in the Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot. Under the direction of the Maryland Health Care Commission, the State aims to involve 50 practices, with 200 primary care providers—physicians and nurse practitioners, and at least 200,000 patients in this initiative.

Dr. James Barr, a family physician practicing in New Jersey who is an early adopter of the PCMH model, was the featured speaker at the National Harbor symposium. Over 500 providers attended the previous symposia held in Baltimore, Cambridge, Bethesda, Columbia, Hagerstown and Fallston.

“Governor Martin O’Malley and I set an ambitious goal four years ago to improve public health. Through our partnerships with the medical community, advocates and a host of others, we have expanded health care to more than 205,000 Marylanders who did not have coverage four years ago and we have made a commitment to build on that progress,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “The Patient Centered Medical Home program will allow Maryland to move forward with health care reform, improve the quality of care, and reduce costs by offering primary care providers responsible incentives to spend more time with patients, coordinate care, and promote prevention and wellness.”

Lt. Governor Brown led the effort to pass the PCMH bill during this year’s legislative session. The legislation grew out of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council’s PCMH Workgroup, established by Governor Martin O’Malley and chaired by Lt. Governor Brown and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers.

“The medical home model aims to improve patient health and elevate the role of the primary care provider in our health system,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers. “Through this initiative, we can begin to change how health care is delivered by focusing on the whole patient, increasing coordination across the care continuum, and improving access for both the healthy and the chronically ill.”

PCMH is an innovative way to deliver primary care. Provider-led teams of health care professionals provide coordinated, patient-centered care across the complex health care system. Enhanced access, expanded hours, telephone and email communications, coupled with an emphasis on prevention and wellness, result in improved quality of care and fewer emergency department visits and expensive hospitalizations. Primary care providers receive additional reimbursement for providing these services and the opportunity to share in the savings from reduced costs. Similar programs throughout the nation report high patient and provider satisfaction.

“Maryland now joins more than 18 states across the nation that are currently implementing innovative PCMH models,” said Ben Steffen, Director of the MHCC’s Center for Information Services and Analysis, which staffed the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council’s planning process and will administer the program. “Our statewide Pilot engages private carriers as well as Medicaid in an innovative health care reform model that is set to launch in January 2011.”

“The Patient Centered Medical Home model of care provides primary care physicians an opportunity to rebuild physician-patient relationships. At my office, we are reaching out to patients on a frequent basis, helping them adhere to evidence-based goal-directed care plans, teaching them self-management, and identifying the barriers to better outcomes,” said Dr. James Barr. “This commitment to their health care needs builds strong relationships and lays the foundation for successful patient and physician engagement in health system improvement strategies. The PCMH model provides real value and is true health care reform.”

Maryland’s Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot is currently accepting expressions of interest from practices throughout the state. Selection of practices for the Pilot will take place in October 2010 and the Pilot will launch in January 2011.

Governor O’Malley tasked Lt. Governor Brown to lead the O’Malley-Brown administration’s health care portfolio. Brown chairs the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council and co-chairs the Health Care Reform Coordinating Council with Secretary Colmers. During the 2010 legislative session, Brown championed efforts to pass the Maryland False Health Claims Act of 2010 which will help the State recover over $46.5 million of Medicaid funds in FY11 that were stolen from taxpayers. In 2008, Lt. Governor Brown – a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and the nation’s highest-ranking elected official to serve a tour of duty in Iraq – partnered with members from both parties in the General Assembly to pass the Veterans Behavioral Health Act which improved and expanded mental and behavioral health services for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.