P C D C Releases How To Manual To Help Safety Net Providers Qualify As Medical Homes

PCDC has released a new how-to manual that will help safety-net providers become recognized as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), which is expected to lead not only to improved patient outcomes, but to future reimbursement enhancements as well.

Press Release (PressBurner) Nov 18, 2009 - (New York, NY) As healthcare reform efforts continue on Capitol Hill, healthcare providers are coalescing around patient-focused models of care like the Medical Home.  The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) has released a new how-to manual that will help safety-net providers become recognized as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), which is expected to lead not only to improved patient outcomes, but to future reimbursement enhancements as well. The manual, titled “Obtaining Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition: A How-To Manual,” was released at the National Association of Community Health Center’s (NACHC) 27th Annual State Regional Primary Care Association (SRPCA) Conference (Nov. 16-18th) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The manual marks the first free toolkit available to guide safety-net providers through the process of obtaining PPC-PCMH recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). It does so by providing a complete project management framework to complete the NCQA survey process, including how to set goals, identify project teams, and develop an action plan. The manual also helps users navigate the complex documentation process that is necessary to prove a provider’s “medical homeness.”

“For too long we have imposed on patients and families a system that is expensive, inaccessible, fragmented, and poorly coordinated,” said Regina Neal, MS-MPH, PCDC’s Director of Practice Redesign and a co-author of the manual. “This manual will help safety-net providers take the necessary steps to assess their ‘medical homeness’ and continue on a path of consistent quality improvement to provide high-quality, affordable, patient-centered care.”  

The PCMH model emphasizes coordinated, comprehensive care that emphasizes a strong and robust relationship between the primary care physician, the patient and patient’s family. A practice’s “medical homeness” is strengthened by its use of health information technology, care teams, evidence-based medicine, clear and open communication with patients, open scheduling, and management of chronic disease patients.
“With more than a 40 year track record providing comprehensive community based primary care to high- risk underserved populations, federally qualified health centers are America's healthcare homes,” said David M. Stevens, M.D., NACHC’s Associate Medical Officer and a member of PCDC’s Medical Home Expert Advisory Panel. “PCDC’s manual enables health centers both to achieve recognition and to identify ways to strengthen the care they provide to patients and communities.”

The medical home is a key element of the healthcare reform legislation being debated by Congress because of its proven ability to enhance quality and reduce costs. Since 2006 more than 40 states have initiated medical home demonstration projects, with evidence showing cost savings of 15 to 20 percent from traditional provider models. Others have shown the PCMH model to reduce emergency room visits as much as 39 percent, decrease hospitalizations by 11 percent, and reduce staff burnout by 30 percent.

A 2008 Commonwealth Fund survey showed almost half of U.S. adults report a lack of care coordination and only a little more than half of all U.S. adults report open and clear communication with their primary care clinician. In today’s healthcare system, specialists are often unable to receive basic information from a primary care provider and vice versa, and patients are rarely called about test results.  The Commonwealth Fund, in partnership with Qualis, recently launched a national Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, which will provide $6 million dollars over four years to help 68 community health centers in five states transform into patient-centered medical homes.  

“In order to have a truly high performing healthcare system in this country we must have high-quality, well-coordinated, patient-centered primary care,” said Melinda Abrams, M.S., Assistant Vice President for The Commonwealth Fund’s Patient-Centered Coordinated Care Program and member of PCDC’s Medical Home Expert Advisory Panel.  “This manual can help the safety-net and other providers transition into true medical homes providing the best care possible.  It can also serve as a valuable tool to the safety-net providers across the country.”

The NCQA has developed a widely recognized and adopted set of medical home standards called the Physician Practice Connections- Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC®-PCMH). There are nine standards, and 30 elements, including 10 must pass elements, which can result in one of three levels of recognition.  Many states have taken steps to reform Medicaid and other insurance programs to reward providers that meet NCQA standards. Beginning in 2010, New York State Medicaid is expected to reward hospitals and doctors that coordinate and integrate their patient’s care in accordance with NCQA standards; a similar initiative was recently announced in Massachusetts.  

The manual was made possible through funding by the New York Community Trust (NYCT) and is specifically tailored to fit the unique needs of providers in low-income communities that often lack access to primary care. “We fund projects that help organizations adopt successful models that will improve healthcare in poor communities,” said Len McNally, MA-MPH, program director of Health and People with Special Needs at NYCT.  “PCDC’s manual will help community health centers and other providers of primary care become medical homes and provide excellent healthcare to people who are least able to get it.”

The manual is publicly available on PCDC’s website: www.pcdcny.org/go/medicalhome

About Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) www.pcdcny.org: Founded in 1993, PCDC is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to timely, effective primary and preventive care by providing capital and performance improvement programs to primary care providers in underserved communities. PCDC has worked with more than 400 primary care teams located throughout the country, guiding them through the redesign of their operations so they can dramatically expand access to quality primary care by increasing productivity, implementing electronic medical records, and preparing for emergencies. PCDC has also created an investment of $250 million for more than 75 health center projects; an investment that has generated more than 2,200 permanent jobs; built/renovated 630,000 square feet of space; and created the capacity to serve approximately 550,000 New Yorkers and provide 1.7 million medical visits annually.

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Release Date: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 1:45am
Additional Tags: 
Non Profit, primary care, medical home, pcdc, community health, ncqa, health center, clinic, ambulatory care
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