Guest Column: Do You Have a Medical Home?
What is a Medical Home? A medical home is not a place — it is a way that care is provided to you and is a standard in quality and safety in health care. It is a partnership with your health care team. This team includes a primary health care provider, specialists, mental health, dentists, community resources, and most importantly, you and your family.
Your medical home should be your regular source of health care. It is where you and your family have an ongoing relationship with a primary provider. Your local health care providers want you to know that every child, adult and senior deserves a medical home. We do not care where you go or to whom you go because we know our community has excellent resources. Please take the time to establish a relationship with a local primary care provider.
Why is this important? A medical home means that your health care team knows yours and your family’s health history, listens to your concerns and needs, and coordinates with any of your other health care providers working. Your medical home should work with you to make sure you are taken care of as an entire person — including both your medical and non-medical needs, such as food, housing, social support, etc. Your medical home works with you to develop a care plan based on your beliefs and ability to follow through with the plan. Remember, you have the most important role in the medical home. You have the responsibility to advocate for you and your family. After all, you know you and your family better than anyone. Share any questions or concerns with your health care team. In fact, write down a list of questions or concerns before your appointment and make sure they are answered satisfactorily. You also have the responsibility to communicate with your health care team on care received between visits like emergency room visits, visits to other providers, and anything else that might affect your or your family’s health and well-being. Most providers will accept updates through phone calls or emails.
Most of all, it is very important that you follow the care plan that you and your health care team created together. If you cannot follow that care plan, please communicate barriers or concerns with your team. Maybe you cannot afford your co-pay for prescriptions. Maybe you do not really understand why you need to take your blood pressure every day, lose some weight, or eat healthier. Maybe you do not know how. Your health care team can connect you to community resources that can support you in following your care plan.
We may live in a rural area, but we have excellent health care providers and amazing community resources. Make sure you find a physical health home. It could be a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, facility, or even a chiropractor or massage therapist. They know when and how to engage other providers. Find a dental home. If you use mental health services, you should have a mental health home. Your health depends on it.
For more information, please contact the Grand County Rural Health Network at 970-725-3477 or http://www.gcruralhealth.com.
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