How Having a PCMH Pediatrician Changed This Mom’s Life

It all started when Sarah Lanivich noticed her three-month old son, Mason, had a cough that sounded like he’d been smoking for years. The cough lingered for months, and Sarah struggled to find a diagnosis.

“Mason was a happy baby, but he would cough a lot and his breathing was labored,” said Sarah.  “We just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.”

Mason’s pediatrician referred him to a local specialist to help solve the mystery. After the examination, the specialist told Sarah the cough was related to Mason’s daycare. The treatment? She needed to take him out of daycare.

“I had just gotten back to work,” Sarah remembers. “We weren’t in a position to be a one-income family. I had no clue what we were going to do.”

Sarah talked to Mason’s pediatrician about all her concerns, and the pediatrician pressed her to get a second opinion. She was referred to a different doctor, but didn’t have high hopes that this specialist would say anything different.


After some tests, the second specialist realized that the issue was really with Mason’s swallowing. He had a disorder called dysphagia, where a person doesn’t completely close off their airway when they swallow, and bits of food or liquid go into their lungs and cause irritations.  These irritations can develop into infections like bronchitis.

Once Sarah had this diagnosis, she and Mason’s pediatrician and this new specialist worked together to arrange occupational therapy for Mason. With the right treatment, Mason’s cough slowly disappeared. Today, Mason is a happy, healthy three-year-old.

Sarah was fortunate that Mason’s pediatrician was designated as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) doctor.

“Having a PCMH doctor is a completely different experience,” said Sarah. “Our doctor made me feel like she was as concerned about Mason’s health as I was. She could have taken the easy way out and had me take Mason out of daycare. But instead, she worked with me to find answers.”

“Had my doctor not pressed me to get a second option, I don’t know that we would have ever received a diagnosis,” said Sarah. “He would have continued to experience the same symptoms, and I would have potentially left my job for nothing. It really was all because of her.”

Sarah and Mason Lanivich

Through a PCMH doctor, Mason was given a team of health care professionals dedicated to helping Mason get better. Instead of Sarah having to relay messages from one doctor to another, Mason’s health care team worked together to ensure care was coordinated effectively.

Having a PMCH doctor for her kids makes life easier for Sarah. Want to know if your current doctor is PCMH-designated? Give the office a call, or look for the certification on the wall during your next appointment.

If you’re looking to switch to a PCMH doctor, go to If you’re a PPO member, you can filter by “Patient-Centered Medical Home” on the left-hand side. You can also find a full list of PCMH providers here.

This post was originally published on MiBluesPerspectives, the official company blog of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

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