Evidence that patient-centered medical homes are effective in reducing emergency department admissions for patients with depression

Academic Article


  • The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) has increasingly been touted as one means of integrating behavioral health and primary care and more holistically caring for patients with chronic disease. With its whole person orientation, the PCMH presents an opportunity to reduce emergency department visits for patients with depression by focusing on the patient and his/her health care needs, facilitating communication among providers and patients, and improving patients’ access to care providers across settings. This study examines the relationship between PCMH capacity – defined as the ability to offer a service identified as a component part of the PCMH – and the number of emergency department visits for patients with depression. Health plan claims data, self-report data from physician practices on their PCMH characteristics, and the Area Resource File were analyzed. Results show that overall PCMH capacity is associated with fewer emergency department visits for patients with depression, and interpersonal aspects of the PCMH in particular, were associated with fewer emergency department visits while technical capabilities were not. Interpersonal activities that facilitate care coordination, patient engagement, and connect patients with community resources might be more effective in keeping patients out of the emergency department for unnecessary reasons as compared to technical activities focused on reporting and information management.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hearld KR; Hearld LR; Landry AY; Budhwani H
  • Start Page

  • 26
  • End Page

  • 35
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 1