Children’s Hospital’s quality of care recognizedMar. 17, 2021, 2:35 PM
by Christina Echegaray
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s pediatric primary care clinics have earned the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition for demonstrating evidence-based practices that ensure excellence and quality of care for all patients and families.
NCQA is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality through voluntary accreditation programs for physicians and health care plans. The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) 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.
“Our clinics have been embracing these medical home principles for at least 15 years, so this just formalized that commitment and demonstrates that our clinics meet the most stringent and rigorous national standards that exist for recognition as a Patient-Centered Medical Home,” said Barron Patterson, MD, vice chair for Ambulatory Services in the Department of Pediatrics and associate professor of Pediatrics. “We know that when practices adhere to these principles, they have better patient outcomes; they have better patient experiences and they deliver higher value care.”
The intensive recognition process, which allows for up to 18 months to complete, requires that primary care practices successfully show evidence of consistent practices in 40 core criteria and 25 elective credits across six concept areas. Cynthia Biggers, senior program manager, led the process, which must be performed for each pediatric primary care clinic.
“A lot of this great care was already being provided. I just had to pull the evidence to show that we were doing it right. So, the clinicians were already doing this excellent work,” said Biggers, who noted Children’s primary care clinics were able to achieve the recognition in about eight months’ time.
The recognition applies to the Children’s Hospital pediatric primary care clinic locations in Nashville (Doctors’ Office Tower and One Hundred Oaks) and Smyrna. More than 38,000 patients receive care through pediatric-age locations.
The clinics strive to put patients and families at the forefront of care through several core tenets and by ensuring patients have the best opportunity to be seen by their provider in a timely manner; have the ability to communicate with their provider during the daytime and after hours via telephone or My Health at Vanderbilt; and have appropriate resources like case managers and medical social workers for additional help.
“We are purposeful in making sure that the family is at the center of what we do and making sure that we’re addressing not just the medical needs of the patient but the needs of the whole family,” Patterson said. “We’re trying to partner with them to be proactive so we can keep their child as healthy as possible. Using these principles, it’s demonstrated and evidence-based that doing these things makes that happen.”
As part of ongoing quality assurance, the clinics also monitor data, create action plans and continuously promote improvement in clinic-specific quality metrics such as well-care compliance, vaccinations and important screenings.
With the NCQA recognition, Children’s Hospital’s primary care clinics must go through an annual recertification process and ensure that standards are maintained with a continued focus and emphasis on quality improvement and improving the level of care provided to patients and families.