The concept of a patient-centered medical home — which combines the modern-day advantages of computerized medical data with the old-time convenience of having a familiar doctor — is catching on across the country. More primary care practices have started to provide team care, and almost 7,000 have already been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as patient-centered medical homes. In Georgia, health insurers such as Aetna, Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and WellCare have launched medical home-style programs.
Georgia’s physician shortage continues to limit patients’ access to care, especially in rural areas, a recently released report indicates. But the report by the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce also highlights some promising trends on doctors practicing in Georgia.
Physician assistants can help ease the shortage of primary care physicians, according to a study released earlier this month. But Georgia also has a shortage of PAs. With that gap in mind, the Georgia campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine said recently that it plans to open a physician assistant program.
Federal officials have awarded $19 million nationally to create new health care centers, including five in Georgia. The health centers will increase access to preventive and primary care, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Friday in a statement.