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Blunt endorses idea of 'health care homes'

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson city, mo. – Governor Matt Blunt is promoting the idea of 'Health Care Homes,' as a means to providing medical services to low-income Missourians.

'Health Care Homes' will be more of a concept than an actual physical structure, as described by doctor and Republican State Representative Robert Schaaf of St. Joseph:

"It means a primary care provider, it might mean a case manager for some people who don't have a care provider, and it might mean the entity that hires those people."

The concept revolves around the idea of trying to get people to one place to have all health care needs addressed before they become catastrophic.

Doctor Heidi Miller is an Internist in St. Louis who embraces the concept. She says patients might get poor overall care if they go the emergency room for one problem and a private doctor for another.

"We provide a location, as well as a home environment, where a patient can address any of their problems, if they've had a nervous breakdown, or if their eyeglasses or broken, or if they have tremendous tooth pain, or they have chest pain."

The idea is meeting with some skepticism. Ruth Ehresman, with The Missouri Budget Project, says just who would qualify as a Health Care Home is too vague.

She also says the governor should put his energies into developing a plan that guarantees health insurance for all Missourians.

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