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Team-Based Medical Care Gaining Steam, Backed By Physicians Groups

CBS New York (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSNewYork.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSNewYork.com/Health

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Going to the doctor used to mean a visit with one physician.

But today, there’s a good chance you’ll end up seeing a whole team of caregivers at the doctor’s office.

As CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez reported, experts say an increasing number of practices are adopting a team-based model of medicine, with a group of medical professionals dividing up responsibilities and freeing up the supervising physician.

“The idea here is that I don’t have to do the entire job myself. I have ten employees that work for me and we all have a different view of how to take care of a patient,” Dr. David Novelli of Catholic Medical Partners said.

A team might include a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, a medical assistant, a care coordinator, a nurse and an office manager. Even a dietician or clinical pharmacist may be part of the team.

With each team member bringing to the exam table a unique role and skill set, experts say it’s good for the patients.

“They benefit from having these different styles, these different training, different levels of expertise,” said Dr. Novelli.

Both the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians have put their support behind team-based models. Experts said they’re good so long as they’re carried out correctly.

“The interaction between members of the team is very important. They respect each other, they work well together, and if you have that, you have great patient care,” said Dr. Novelli.

Patients can often see some team members much sooner than the doctor. Plus they’re happy to have the extra attention from the other team members, Gomez reported.

“I’ve had patients leave the room with me and spend an extra 20 minutes with the nurse care manager going over their diet,” Dr. Yul Ejnes with the American College of Physicians said.

The American Medical Association said that team-based models can also help physicians meet the new surge in demand for medical care that has come with millions of new Americans now insured through the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

In terms of cost to patients, typically the co-pay is the same no matter which team member a patient sees.

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