Estimating the staffing infrastructure for a patient-centered medical home

Mitesh S. Patel, Martin J. Arron, Thomas A. Sinsky, Eric H. Green, David W. Baker, Judith L. Bowen, Susan Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) offers an innovative method of delivering primary care. However, the necessary staffing infrastructure is not well established. Objectives: To evaluate the roles of personnel within a PCMH and to propose necessary staffing ratios and associated incremental costs to implement this model of care. Methods: We sampled primary care clinical practices that either have successfully deployed or were in the process of implementing a PCMH practice model. We conducted targeted interviews of administrators from these practices and reviewed published literature on the personnel roles within a PCMH. Collectively, these data were compared with current staffing standards and used to inform an analytical model and sensitivity analysis. Results: Primary care practices that successfully transitioned to a PCMH have incorporated a range of new staff and functionalities. Based on our model, we estimated that 4.25 full-time equivalents (FTEs) should be allocated to staffing personnel per 1 physician FTE. Compared with the base-case model of current staffing in the United States of 2.68 FTEs per physician FTE, this is a 59% increase. After applying sensitivity analysis for variability in staffing and compensation, the incremental staffing FTE per physician FTE was 1.57 (range 1.41- 1.73) and the incremental associated cost per member per month was $4.68 (range $3.79-$6.43). Conclusions: Our study suggests that additional staff with specific expertise and training is necessary to implement a PCMH. Further study and opportunities for funding additional staffing costs will be important for realizing the potential of the PCMH model of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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