St. Joseph Family Care Center is first MCW clinic recertified as L3 patient-centered medical home
Feb. 28, 2013 College News - The Wheaton Franciscan-St. Joseph Family Care Center has been recertified as a Level 3 (top) Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The Family Care Center is staffed by physicians from The Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Family and Community Medicine.
The three-year recognition is part of the NCQA’s Physician Practice Connections – Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) program, which honors programs that use evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships. The recertification required the program to meet much higher standards that were implemented since the original certification – standards that require proof of success of program implementation.
At its heart, a patient-centered medical home is an approach in which care is coordinated by the primary care physician throughout the patient’s life, where all parties are working and communicating in sync, where patients have convenient access to care, and where evidence informs decision making. It is practicing medicine from the patient’s perspective and trying to maximize meeting his or her needs.
To be considered for recertification as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home, a program must meet key program components:
Written standards for patient access and enhanced communications
Appropriate use of charting tools to track patients and organize clinical information
Responsive care management techniques with an emphasis on preventive care
Adaption to patient’s cultural and linguistic needs
Use of information technology for prescriptions and care management
Use of evidence-based guidelines to treat chronic conditions
Systematic tracking of referrals and test results
Measurement and reporting of clinical and service performance
The St. Joseph Family Care Center is participating (along with the College’s other two Family and Community Medicine residency programs and the Obstetrics Clinic at Froedtert Hospital) in the State of Wisconsin’s three-year Obstetrical Medical Home Pilot Program. As part of the pilot, Jenni O’Malley, RN, serves as a case manager for pregnant women and provides a variety of services to help them have a healthy pregnancy, including home visits, help with scheduling their pre-birth doctor visits, counseling, and, when necessary, referrals to specialists and community agencies.
A patient-centered medical home places a premium on availability, so the offices are usually structured to include after-hours and weekend scheduling as well as maintaining a percentage of open spots to allow for same-day visits. This helps reduce the number of patients visiting emergency departments and urgent care clinics for non-emergencies and allows patients to see their home doctor.
St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center officials recently commended the Family Care Center leadership for reducing utilization of the emergency room by the center’s patients since they first became certified.