NMC Commentary

What does the “Patient-Centered Medical Home” Recognition Mean?

When a Primary Care practice achieves “Patient-Centered Medical Home” recognition through the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), it signifies that they are “putting patients at the forefront of care” and using a practice model which research shows improves “quality and patient experience” as well as increasing “staff satisfaction while reducing health care costs.” I am so proud of the NMC teams at Northwestern Primary Care and Northwestern Georgia Health Center, and the staff across our organization who support this effort, for recently earning recognition as Patient Centered Medical Homes at both practices.

The Patient Centered Medical Home model has six “concept areas” or over-arching themes that a practice must complete: team-based care that includes “how the practice partners with patients, families and caregivers”; knowing and managing patients with “evidence-based clinical decision support”; patient-centered access and continuity; care management and support for patients “who need more closely-managed care”; care coordination and care transitions to ensure referrals to others are managed to “minimize cost, confusion and inappropriate care”; and performance measurement and quality improvement. The physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, and staff at Northwestern Primary Care and Northwestern Georgia Health Center have embraced all six of these key concepts and integrated them into the care of their patients. Within each concept area are numerous criteria “developed from evidence-based guidelines and best practices” which are used to measure the actual performance of the practice in each aspect. As you can see, the NCQA process is rigorous and I am pleased these practices have earned this recognition.

Dr. Judy Fingergut, NMC’s Medical Director of Primary Care, said “this was truly a collaborative effort” as she thanked key members of the team who were instrumental in the process, including Sarah DeSilvey, NP, and Haley Klaszky of the practices; Candace Collins of Blueprint for Health; and Karen Garrand and NMC’s Quality team. In the true spirit of continuous improvement, Dr. Fingergut said “the work does not end here” and looked forward to “continued great work from such an engaging team as we continue our journey in transforming our practice.”

As a community, our region is fortunate to be cared for by primary care and pediatric practices who have earned recognition from NCQA (www.ncqa.org), which is a private non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA also recognizes the Northern Tier Center for Health (NOTCH) clinics, St. Albans Primary Care and Cold Hollow Family Practice. Currently, Northwestern Pediatrics is working through the process and we expect they will be equally successful in demonstrating the patient-centered nature of their care. NMC’s vision includes being “nationally recognized for excellence and value” in healthcare and continuing to earn meaningful recognitions such as “Patient-Centered Medical Home” status from NCQA is a testament to that vision being a reality.

It is my pleasure to celebrate this achievement of Northwestern Primary Care and Northwestern Georgia Health Center. Congratulations to all involved! This fine work is part of NMC’s overall devotion to providing exceptional care for our community. We are so pleased and proud to care for you and your families. Thank you for entrusting your care to us.

— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer