Getting the Best Health Care by Having a Medical Home

What is a medical home?

A medical home is a way to provide high quality health care services that best meet the needs of patients and families. It is not a building, house, or hospital. In a medical home, you have one provider who is your primary health care provider and who works with you in partnership to assure that all of your medical and non-medical needs are addressed.

Why have a medical home?

People may work with many doctors, nurses, and other health care providers. Often people must also work with school, employers, insurance, and social service professionals. Therefore, you can benefit from the team work provided by a medical home. A medical home works to coordinate health care, especially for those who have special health care needs.

Who is the primary health care provider?

The primary health care provider is an internist, a family doctor, pediatrician, a nurse practitioner, a physician's assistant, or sometimes a specialist. The primary health care provider is the person who provides you with comprehensive medical care. It should be someone you trust and who will partner with you to:

  • Answer questions;
  • Share decision making;
  • Communicate with other professionals;
  • Coordinate your care;
  • Provide resources and find out how well they worked;
  • Develop plans for emergencies;
  • Develop comprehensive plans of care that address your individual needs;
  • Build bridges among families and health, education, and social services;
  • Monitor, update and follow up care planning activities;
  • Respect your values and culture; and
  • Promote health and quality of life for you and your family.

In a medical home you will feel comfortable to:

  • Discuss questions or concerns;
  • Share information about your health;
  • Communicate with your doctor, clinic staff, and partners;
  • Ask for things to be explained differently when you don't understand; and
  • Seek solutions in a mutually respectful way.

What if I get medical care outside of my medical home?

If you get medical care outside of your medical home, it is important to tell your primary care provider about it. For example, if you receive a vaccine at a clinic or pharmacy, let your primary care provider know that you got a vaccine. When you and your primary care provider talk, build trust, and work well together, you will receive the best health care possible.

I don't have health insurance. How can I get it so that I can have a medical home?

If you don't have health insurance, you may be eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, Family Health Plus, or another form of health insurance. To get more information on health insurance and how to apply, please call 1-800-698-4543 or visit the New York State Department of Health website at www.nyhealth.gov/health_care/. New York City residents should go to www.nyc.gov/healthstat or call 311.