WMed primary care clinics garner national recognition for patient-centered care

"."WMed’s primary care clinics have once again been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a model for coordination and communication that is transformative and patient-centered.

The three-year renewal of the 2014 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition Level 2 for WMed’s Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Medicine-Pediatrics clinics at the Oakland Drive Campus was announced by the NCQA earlier this month.

PCMH is a model of care that emphasizes care coordination and communication to transform primary care into “what patients want it to be.” Research has shown that patient-centered medical homes foster better patient care, lower costs, improvement of patients’ care experience and systems and structures that help staff work more efficiently.

“All of this just makes good sense,” said Dr. Joseph D’Ambrosio, WMed’s associate dean for Clinical Affairs. “It’s about providing high-quality, patient-centered care and doing what’s in the best interests of our patients. We should be proud.

“It’s the right thing to do for our patients and the right way to train our student doctors.”

WMed’s clinics have received recognition as a patient-centered medical home from both the NCQA and The Joint Commission. This recognition allows for the clinics to take advantage of financial incentives offered by health plans and employers, as well as federal and state-sponsored programs.

Since its inception five years ago, the NCQA has recognized more than 6,800 practice sites in the U.S. as patient-centered medical homes.

PCMH identifies practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their doctors, instead of treating patient care as the sum of several episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is handled by clinician-led care teams who provide for all of the patient’s healthcare needs and coordinate treatments across the healthcare system.

Recognition from the NCQA means that the clinicians in WMed’s primary care clinics have met the benchmarks of a patient-centered medical home, including patient-centered access, team-based care, population health management, care management and support, care coordination and care transitions, and performance measurement and quality improvement.

The NCQA recently released information about the new structure, guidelines, and standards for the 2017 Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition. Work is already underway at WMed to prepare for – and meet – the new standards, said Michele Serbenski, the medical school’s associate dean for Planning and Performance Excellence.

“They build upon the current standards, but include a lot more,” Serbenski said. “This will be an opportunity over the next several years before our renewal in 2020 to involve the clinical leadership and care teams in understanding the new standards and how we’re going to implement them at WMed.”