Making Medical Homes Work: Moving from Concept to Practice

Policy Perspective Identifies Operational Issues that Can Make or Break Medical Homes

Media Advisory
Dec. 11, 2008

Alwyn Cassil (202) 264-3484 or

WASHINGTON, DC—Key operational issues facing medical home initiatives include how to qualify physician practices as medical homes; how to match patients to their medical homes; how to engage patients and other providers to work with medical homes in care coordination; and how to pay practices that serve as medical homes, according to a new Policy Perspective from researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) and Mathematica Policy Research (MPR).

Although medical home definitions vary and continue to evolve, at the heart of a medical home is a physician practice committed to organizing and coordinating care based on patients’ needs and priorities-especially patients with chronic conditions-communicating directly with patients and their families, and integrating care across settings and practitioners.

Despite the enormous energy and resources invested in the medical home model to date, relatively little has been written about moving from theoretical concept to practical application, particularly on a large scale. HSC and MPR are uniquely positioned to address operational issues related to medical homes. Along with conducting independent and collaborative research relevant to medical homes, care coordination, payment policy and the organization of care delivery, HSC and MPR researchers have direct experience with both public- and private-sector medical home initiatives, including leading the design of the Medicare Medical Home Demonstration.

Written by HSC’s Paul Ginsburg, Ph.D.; Hoangmai H. Pham, M.D.; and Ann O’Malley, M.D.; and MPR’s Myles M. Maxfield, Ph.D.; and Deborah Peikes, Ph.D.; the new Policy Perspective-Making Medical Homes Work: Moving from Concept to Practice-is available online at

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The Center for Studying Health System Change is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to providing objective and timely research on the nation’s changing health system to help inform policy makers and contribute to better health care policy. HSC, based in Washington, D.C., is funded principally by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

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Mathematica Policy Research Inc., a nonpartisan research firm, conducts high-quality, objective policy research and surveys to improve public well-being. Its clients include federal and state governments, foundations, and private-sector and international organizations. The employee-owned company, with offices in Princeton, N.J., Washington, D.C., Cambridge, Mass., and Ann Arbor, Mich., has conducted some of the most important studies of health care, education, welfare, employment, nutrition, and early childhood policies and programs in the U.S.