Bill To Establish Medical Home Project In New Jersey Signed Into Law

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TRENTON – A bill which establishes a medical home demonstration project to enhance primary, patient-centered acute care for Medicaid recipients was signed into law last week by Gov. Chris Christie.

The new law, S-665, requires the State Medicaid program to establish a three-year Medicaid medical home demonstration project to expand the options for Medicaid recipients to receive patient-centered, coordinated primary care.

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The medical home model promotes better patients outcomes, a personalized relationship between physicians and patients, coordinated, comprehensive care at all stages of the patient’s life through multi-disciplinary medical care teams, and expanded access to care, including open scheduling, expanded hours and off-hours access through new modes of communication between patients and their physicians.  The philosophy behind the medical home model, according to the bill sponsors, is that by focusing on treating patients, rather than focusing on treating diseases, health care officials can provide better health care for less money.

The new law requires that the Medicaid program consider payment methodologies that support care-coordination through multi-disciplinary teams and health care specialists.  The bill will develop a system to support primary care providers in creating the organizational structure necessary to provide a medical home, and identify primary care providers for participation in the demonstration project.  Finally, the bill will require the Commissioner of Human Services to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and patient outcomes achieved through the demonstration medical home project, as well as issue annual reports to the Governor and the Legislature on their findings.

The bill received unanimous support from the Senate and Assembly in June.


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