Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

GIM News
Donna L. Bishop, Editor

Next issue:
December 2012

Submission deadline:
November 16, 2012


GIMO Achieves Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition

The General Internal Medicine Oakland (GIMO) Practice of the University of Pittsburgh Physicians (UPP) has been awarded recognition as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for the July 2012 to July 2015 period.

GIMO achieved the highest PCMH program status (level 3 status) under the new 2011 guidelines, renewing the recognition it received 3 years ago.

The PCMH Program was developed to assess whether physician practices are functioning as medical homes and to recognize them for their efforts and achievements. The 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 2011 standards emphasize the use of systematic, patient-centered, coordinated care that supports access, communication, and patient involvement. "The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of 21st century primary care that combines access, teamwork and technology to deliver quality care and improve health," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "NCQA's PCMH 2011 Recognition shows that UPP, GIMO has the tools, systems and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time." This achievement reflects GIMO's commitment to quality, innovation, and improvement and is a measure of the collective effort of a strong leadership team and dedicated expert faculty physicians and health professionals, working in collaboration with caring and proficient clinic personnel.

According to the NCQA, a primary care practice must do the following to become a PCMH:

  • encourage engaged leadership to lead culture change and ensure that enough time and resources have been dedicated to the transformation effort;
  • institute a quality improvement strategy that establishes and monitors measures to evaluate improvement, ensures patients, families, providers and care team members are involved in quality improvement activities, and optimizes use of health information technology;
  • link each patient to a provider to create continuous, trusting relationships;
  • deploy organized care teams;
  • identify high-risk patients and ensure they are receiving appropriate, evidence-based care and case management services;
  • respect patients' and families' values and needs, encourage patients to expand their roles in decision-making, and communicate in a culturally appropriate manner;
  • ensure patients are able to reach their care teams at all times, whether by phone, e-mail, or in-person visits; and
  • coordinate care by linking patients with community resources, following up with patients after an emergency room visit or hospital discharge, and communicating test results and care plans to patients.

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