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Time for a change, The NY Times reports

The New York Times reported on the new model of healthcare that UnitedHealth Group is testing in a handful of states including Colorado. This plan gives patients what they call a medical “home” that oversees their care even when the patient is seen by specialists or requires hospitalization. The medical home model is intended to fix some of the major shortcomings of healthcare delivery in the United States and according to Dr. Jim Dearing of Phoenix, AZ, “This gives us the opportunity to create a model to allow family physicians to practice medicine the way we used to practice in the past.”

“Subspecialization adds value to the patient’s medical care,” adds Sean Bryant, MD of Diversified Radiology headquartered in Denver, CO which provides specialized radiography reading services to healthcare facilities in the metro area and continents away.

Today’s medical insurers typically reward doctors for how many tests or procedures they perform on the patient vs. how effective their care is. The general physician isn’t compensated for helping patients navigate specialists or follow-up care. Using the home care model, UnitedHealth has said it will compensate physicians with a quarterly management fee for overseeing their patients’ care plus bonuses will be awarded based on patient satisfaction, especially when that monitoring prevents costly and unnecessary hospital stays.