Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved
The State Primary Care Association
Building Medical Homes:
A Strategy for Improving Health Care Quality,
Reducing Cost, and Enhancing Access
by Anthony Wellever, Director of Governmental Affairs
Three themes have dominated the nation’s health policy
agenda in the past few decades: access, cost and
quality. Policies that influence access focus on
providing services to the underserved, such as the elderly and
the poor, and assuring availability of commercial health
insurance. Cost containment has been a primary focus of both
public and private policy initiatives since the early 1970s.
Fueled by technology and increases in longevity, the United
States witnessed a 15-fold increase in health care spending in
the years between 1960 and 2002.1 More recently, public
attention to the quality of health services and patient safety has
This white paper is the second in a series produced by the
Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved.
Dominant Health Policy Themes
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
• The medical home model is an emerging concept. Medical home definitions vary, but all agree
that the model is a bundle of medical practice characteristics that improve both individual
patient outcomes and the health of populations.
• Medical homes not only improve patient care, but they make a positive contribution to health
policy. They improve quality by assuring that the right services are provided at the right times.
They reduce costs by reducing avoidable hospitalizations for many chronic conditions. And
they enhance access by increasing provider availability and using patient-centered scheduling.
• Kansas safety net clinics strongly endorse the medical home model and many of them already
employ practices characteristic of a medical home.
• According to a recent study, community health centers – one type of Kansas safety net clinic –
“appear well positioned to inform the growing call for…‘patient-centered medical homes.’”