• family medicine;
  • medical home;
  • Medicare;
  • policy;
  • rural


Purpose: To measure the readiness of rural primary care practices to qualify as patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), one step toward participating in changes underway in health care finance and delivery.

Methods: We used the 2008 Health Tracking Physician Survey to compare PCMH readiness scores among metropolitan and nonmetropolitan primary care practices. The National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) assessment system served as a framework to assess the PCMH capabilities of primary care practices based on their services, processes, and policies.

Findings: We found little difference between urban and rural practices. Approximately 41% of all primary care practices offer minimal or no PCMH services. We also found that large practices score higher on standards primarily related to information technology and care management.

Conclusions: Achieving the benefits of the PCMH model in small rural practices may require additional national promotion, technical assistance, and financial incentives.