The Medical Home Model: What Is It And How Do Social Workers Fit In?

Stacy Collins, MSW


Practice Perspectives


The “medical home” concept dates to the late 1960s and has, until recently, been confined largely to the pediatric community. However, in the health reform era, the concept is being embraced as a model of health care delivery that is comprehensive and cost efficient, particularly for people with complex health conditions. Medical home programs are growing rapidly, fueled by interest from both the public and private sectors. The hallmark of the medical home is integrated, multi-disciplinary care that meets a patient’s physical and behavioral health needs. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 advances a systems-level manifestation of the medical home—the “accountable care organization” (ACO)— a health care delivery model intended to promote shared accountability for improving patient care and controlling costs for a defined population. Social workers are well positioned to participate in these health delivery models – and have demonstrated their value in many of the medical home demonstrations projects currently underway throughout the nation.

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