Medical Home Implementation in Small Primary Care Practices: Provider Perspectives

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CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield of Maryland implemented a voluntary patient-centered medical home (PCMH) program in 2011 that did not require formal certification to participate. This study assessed attitudes and awareness of PCMH programs among participating providers in Maryland and Northern Virginia.


This qualitative study used information from 13 focus groups. In addition, 39 telephone interviews were conducted. An experienced facilitator moderated the focus groups. Written transcripts were analyzed using NVivo software.


Several cross-cutting themes emerged. First, the payment bump of 12% was a motivating factor to participate but did not have long-term effects on participation. Second, nurse care coordinators were perceived as the key element of the PCMH program. Third, providers had limited awareness of an external data portal. Finally, small practices were generally receptive to the externally supported program elements.


Implementation of PCMH program elements can be facilitated in small primary care practices even if third-party certification is not a requirement. Participating providers viewed having an external nurse care coordinator as the key element of the PCMH program. Small practices were receptive to external supports, but a lack of trust was viewed as a barrier to implementing a payer-based medical home program.

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