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Adult Primary Care clinics receive recognition for quality

Apr. 30, 2020, 9:34 AM


by Jill Clendening

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently announced that all Vanderbilt Medical Group (VMG) adult primary care practices have received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on coordinated care with the goal of improving outcomes.

The NCQA is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that seeks to improve health care quality through voluntary accreditation programs for physicians and health care plans. The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home program was developed to measure whether clinician practices are functioning as medical homes and to recognize them for these efforts.

The PCMH standards emphasize the use of patient-centered, team-based care that supports access, communication and patient involvement. Research has shown that PCMHs improve both quality of care and the patient experience, as well as increase staff satisfaction — while reducing health care costs.

“This accreditation is invaluable validation of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s long-term commitment to patient-centered care,” said Tom Nantais, executive vice-president of Adult Ambulatory Operations. “Our primary care providers serving the adult population should be commended for meeting the stringent requirements of this certification, improving patient care and service. There are 100 or so criteria that must be met in order to achieve this, so this is no small undertaking. And more than anything, the PCMH model provides the necessary infrastructure to be successful in today’s population-focused health care environment.”

NCQA standards align with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association. To earn PCMH recognition, which is valid for one year, the clinics demonstrated the ability to meet the program’s key elements which characterize a medical home.

“Patient-centered care is not just the name, it’s really our goal for primary care,” said Janice Smith, vice president of Adult Ambulatory Operations. “It comes down to the fact that today’s health care system is getting more complex and more difficult to navigate for patients. The patient-centered medical home is really the place where patients can get help navigating all their health care needs. We can also link them up with important community resources to make sure they’re staying healthy at home. That’s the real benefit — that the patient knows they can come to us, and we will get them where they need to go.”

“Through the process of certification, we have greatly improved patient care in numerous ways, particularly in areas such as depression screening, breast cancer screening and influenza immunization,” said Phil Cook, senior program manager for the Medicine Patient Care Center. “One thing I can definitely say about the Vanderbilt Health system is that the focus on the patient is always very clear in everything that we do.”

Members of VUMC’s PCMH Steering Committee have been working closely with clinic-level teams for the past 15 months toward the certification, Cook said.

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