Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

GIM News
Donna L. Bishop, Editor

Next issue:
December 2009

Submission deadline:
November 6, 2009

E-mail: bishopdl@upmc.edu

General Internal Medicine Achieves Recognition as NCQA Level 3 Medical Home

Wishwa N. Kapoor, MD, MPH, is pleased to announce that the General Internal Medicine (GIM) Practice of the University of Pittsburgh Physicians has been awarded recognition as a Physician Practice Connections–Patient Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving health care quality and is involved in accrediting a wide range of health care organizations.

The Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Program was developed to assess whether physician practices are functioning as medical homes and to recognize them for their efforts and achievements. Medical homes are associated with better preventive care and with the improved management of chronic diseases that are a major source of high health care costs. Patients in medical home practices report better access to care, better coordination of care, improved communication with their primary care physicians, and fewer medical errors. Medical home practices also eliminate disparities in receiving needed medical care.

The PCMH Program reflects the input of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and others in extension of the Physician Practice Connections Program. The PCMH standards emphasize the use of systematic, patient-centered, coordinated care that supports access, communication, and patient involvement.

The GIM Oakland Practice achieved the highest level (level 3) recognition from the NCQA as a PCMH and is one of only 97 practices recognized at this level. In designating a PCMH, the NCQA recognizes the provision of high-quality care based on a large set of criteria with detailed documentation concerning the following: access and communication; patient tracking and registry functions; care management; patient self-management support; electronic prescribing; test tracking; referral tracking; performance reporting and improvement; and advanced electronic communication.

Meeting the NCQA performance standards for recognition as a medical home is a reflection of the GIM Practice's dedicated care providers, strong commitment to quality, and history of continuous improvement. The GIM Practice has functioned for many years within Wagner's chronic care model. As a result of the practice's system improvements and quality improvement initiatives, it was able to meet many of the requirements for being recognized as a medical home. These requirements are defined in 9 core standards and 29 elements and are measured through compliance with 167 performance criteria.

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