Independent Health's PCMH Pilot Receives National Recognition
The 18 primary care practices involved in the Independent Health Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) pilot program have each achieved the highest recognition* by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). It is the largest number of physician practices to achieve this recognition in Western New York.
The NCQA standards consist of 30 individual elements that a primary care practice must meet in order to achieve the recognition. Each element is measured to establish benchmarks and standards and practices had to hold themselves accountable to the standards.
One of the standards is patient access, where practices measure how long it takes for patients to get an appointment and how long they waited prior to being seen. Now, patients can easily schedule same-day sick visits, get timely advice from staff members over the phone and have experienced much shorter wait times in the waiting room.
The PCMH pilot, launched in 2009, is a collaboration between Independent Health and practices in Western New York to advance the delivery of primary care. This is done by assisting practices with developing systems which promote accessible, continuous and coordinated patient-centered care utilizing a team approach. The pilot program includes expanded access, enhanced technology to include electronic medical records, and continuous coordination of care among primary care physicians and specialty care physicians with patients and a comprehensive care team for those with or at risk of having a chronic condition.
The program includes 130 physicians and nearly 50,000 Independent Health members. The PCMH is a roadmap for practices to improve delivery and experience of care for clinicians and patients. It includes expanded access, enhanced technology to include electronic medical records, and continuous coordination of care among primary care physicians and specialty care physicians with patients and a comprehensive care team for those with or at risk of having a chronic condition.
Independent Health continues to lead initiatives with local physicians and hospitals to achieve the Triple Aim - affordability, better quality and improved experience/satisfaction. Our innovative programs and collaborations focus on prevention and wellness, improving efficiency and embracing technology.
*PCMH practices can receive three levels of recognition, with level three being the highest. The levels are based on a scoring system of the required elements up to 100 points. All level three practices have earned between 85 and 100 points. The NCQA Recognition levels allow practices with a range of capabilities and sophistication to meet the standards' requirements successfully. The point allocation for the three levels is as follows.
Level 1: 35-59 points and all 6 must-pass elements
Level 2: 50-84 points and all 6 must-pass elements
Level 3: 85-100 points and all 6 must-pass elements
Initial Recognition vs. Renewal
To acknowledge that practices with current NCQA Level 2 or Level 3 Recognition have taken steps toward practice redesign and have systems in place that enabled their recognition level, NCQA offers a streamlined process for renewal through reduced documentation requirements. Practices that satisfactorily demonstrated basic medical home transformation can focus on more advanced aspects of redesign for their renewal applications.