Will health care reform provide new options for rural communities and providers?

PCMHs, or patient-centered medical home (PCMHs), are a type of primary care. They aim to increase the quality and reduce costs. PCMHs are a model that improves access, coordinates care between different specialists and places the patient at center of care. While PCMHs are effective in improving outcomes for patients and decreasing costs in urban settings, their efficacy in rural areas is not as clear.

Many health care providers responded to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provisions by implementing PCMHs. It is difficult to implement PCMHs in rural areas due to their remoteness. Many rural areas have limited access to primary care and limited funding for infrastructure. This can make it challenging to deliver the patient-centered and coordinated care that is the hallmark of the PCMH model.

There are many reasons to believe that PCMHs can improve rural care, despite these difficulties. The use of telehealth can overcome many barriers and enable better coordination among providers. In rural communities that have higher rates than those in cities, the PCMH model emphasizes prevention and wellness.

Although the installation of PCMHs is not easy in rural communities, it presents many opportunities for improvement in access and patient outcomes. Rural communities require the collaboration of policymakers and health care professionals to address these challenges and to ensure all patients receive high-quality, patient-centered, coordinated care.

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