Alicia Berkemeyer Discusses the Difficulties Involved in Primary Care Innovation

Building strong teams and creating a support system is important in implementing innovation in primary care, according to Alicia Berkemeyer, vice president of Enterprise Primary Care and Pharmacy Programs at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Transcript (slightly modified)
What are the challenges of rolling out innovations in primary care?
I think from a practice standpoint, they would tell you just the time has been a challenge and then also some of it is financial because it is very important for them to be able to receive payment in a different fashion these pay management fees for them to have the resources and the support to really build their teams. It’s important to have those teams built in those collaboratives to really have the strong team to make sure everyone is working to the top of their license and doing the appropriate level of outreach and care for the patients. So, I think it’s been very important for them to have that support.

It’s a challenge and it is hard work. It’s not like they can just say “I want to be a patient-centered medical home tomorrow"; it takes time. In reality—in our patient-centered medical home pilot that we did early on, and then also in the conference of primary care for the state of Arkansas—the first couple of years of a medical home, you are going to see your costs increase because you have more compliant patients, you’re having more follow-up care, you’re doing more of your wellness visits. It’s usually around year 3 or 4 that you start seeing the cost savings. 
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