Lessons that patient-centered medical homes can learn from the mistakes of HMOs Academic Article uri icon


  • Patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) have been endorsed by primary and specialty care medical associations, payers, and patient groups as an innovative structure for transforming health care delivery. The cornerstone principle of the PCMH is the primary care physician's coordination of a patient's use of health care services, including visits to specialists, to improve effectiveness and efficiency. This principle aligns with the vision behind the creation of HMOs, managed care organizations that were once embraced by physicians, patients, and policy analysts but have since lost much of their luster. Many patients and physicians rejected HMOs as too restrictive, objecting particularly to the concept of gatekeeping. This article reviews the HMO experience and identifies lessons applicable to PCMHs that build on the strengths of HMOs while avoiding their mistakes. © 2010 American College of Physicians.

author list (cited authors)

  • Mirabito, A. M., & Berry, L. L.

publication date

  • February 2010