UHS Plans to Certify 28 Physician Practices as Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) with Some Help from Care Compass Network

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United Health Services (UHS) has a plan to align 28 practices across a large geographical region with the same high standard of patient-centered care, and it is achieving success thanks to an effective strategy and funding support from Care Compass Network (CCN).

UHS’ goal is to have the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognize the Primary Care practices affiliated with UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital, UHS Delaware Valley Hospital and UHS Hospitals as Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) with Level 3 certification – the highest – according to PCMH 2014 standards.

To help meet its goal, UHS used its CCN sign-on bonus to hire a PCMH Director, who works with UHS Associate Medical Director Dr. Frank Floyd. Rick Boland, Delivery System Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Project Manager, says, “Dr. Floyd has been the impetus behind the PCMH operations. He’s spearhead this project since day one.”

Dr. Floyd has been meeting with the physician practice managers in each of UHS’ 28 practices to discuss what needs to be done clinically and operationally to meet the PCMH standards. He and the new PCMH Director have helped UHS adopt the six standards of care on which PCMHs are scored: patient centered access, team based care, population health management, care management and support, care coordination, and performance measurement and quality improvement.  To achieve Level 3 certification, practices must score a combined 85 to 100 points in these six areas.

“So far, we have ten practices that have reached 2014 Level 3 certification within the past couple of months,” says Boland.

To help coordinate so many practices and assist them in reaching Level 3 certification, UHS is using some of its CCN project funds to embed Wellness Coordinators (Care Coordinators) into each individual practice. “Having that resource to work with the patients one-on-one has been extremely helpful and has been a key element in getting those ten practices recognized by the NCQA,” says Boland.

One of the goals for PCMH is to have practices working towards team based care, which helps increase capacity internally. With team based care, patients receive same-day appointments with not only their primary doctor, but also a whole array of advanced practice providers that the patients did not have immediate access to previously.

As UHS transforms the way it provides care – working toward PCMH certification and also care transitions, a part of the Medicaid Delivery System Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program which works with patients to coordinate their care after a hospitalization in an effort to reduce avoidable readmissions – the ultimate goal is coordinating care for patients and transitioning the patients into a community-based organization offering quicker and more effective patient-centered care.