Pediatric Partners of Raleigh, with assistance from the North Carolina Medical Society’s (NCMS) PractEssentials program, has achieved the level three Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) designation, the highest set of recognition standards for 2011 released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). As a PCMH, Pediatric Partners utilizes health information technology (HIT) for systematic patient-centered and coordinated care management processes to ensure that their patients get the indicated evidence-based care when they need it in a culturally appropriate manner. While Pediatric Partners is one of only three private practices to achieve 2011 Recognition, North Carolina ranks third highest in all PCMH/PPC medical homes nationwide.
Pediatric Partners’ Georgette (Gigi) Gura, DNP, CPNP, CRRN, who championed the PCMH initiative and prepared the 2011 NCQA submission at Pediatric Partners, stated, “Critically evaluating your practice against PCMH 2011 standards involves various challenges related to information technology, innovation and implementation of practice changes, measuring outcomes, achieving each standard goal, and then finally preparing documentation for NCQA submission.”
Gura added, “As an early adopter, I found it valuable to collaborate with Terri Gonzalez, NCMS Foundation Practice Technical Assistance Coordinator, while preparing PCMH 2011 NCQA submission for recognition.” NCMS’ PractEssentials program offers consulting services, web-based education, and technical assistance to its members to help practices become PCMH recognized.
NCQA’s PCMH Recognition calls for modernized health care delivery system reform focused on quality and value by implementing HIT, quality standards and best practices along with realignment of payment and incentives to encourage adoption of best practices. Achieving NCQA’s PCMH Recognition prepares practices to take advantage of financial incentives offered by health plans and employers.
Partnering with patients and families and setting high quality standards is not new for Pediatric Partners. They were one of the first practices to achieve NCQA’s Physician Practice Connections (PPC) in early 2007. “A medical home is like an old-style family doctor’s office, but bringing together a whole team of professionals. Together, we can make the most of modern medical knowledge and technology to give excellent care and help our patients grow and stay healthy,” said Pediatric Partners founder and NCMS member, Terry Brenneman, MD.
Becoming a PCMH requires physicians and their staff to change the functionality of their practice. “It was helpful that we are a smaller practice and therefore more easily able to adopt the many systemic changes, involving our entire staff from the front desk to nursing supervisors,” said Melanie Walker, MD, of Pediatric Partners, who is also a NCMS member. “Seeing each other regularly and being able to work together allowed for a smooth transition to PCMH.” As part of attaining level three PCMH distinction, Pediatric Partners implemented additional technology such as a patient portal and evaluated provider performance and patient experience survey results.