Published January 5, 2011
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has recognized the UB Department of Family Medicine’s three clinical sites for achieving a model of patient-centered health care.
The NCQA awarded the sites level 3 recognition—the highest recognition possible—for their use of systematic, patient-centered coordinated care.
The three-year recognition is given to clinical practices that follow precepts articulated in “Joint Principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home,” a consensus statement developed by the primary care medical societies. The statement defines the medical home as a model for care that strengthens the physician-patient relationship by replacing episodic care based on illnesses and patient complaints with coordinated care and a long-term healing relationship.
“Being certified by NCQA essentially defines a set of services and a level of quality that our practice is expected to deliver for our patients,” says Thomas C. Rosenthal, MD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine. “It sets standards for physicians and for our staff that ensures we’re all doing the best for our patients.”
Applying for the recognition was part of an 18-month restructuring of the Department of Family Medicine’s clinical sites, two suburban and one urban, that took place with support from Independent Health. Among the changes the practices made were revamping their electronic health records to improve tracking for maintenance tests, such as pap smears and immunizations; evaluating and updating patient intake questionnaires; refining roles and tasks within the practice to ensure a team approach to patient health care; and hiring a teaching nurse to work with diabetic patients.
“We want to achieve the highest standards possible for our patients,” Rosenthal says. “Hopefully, patients will feel that we’re an active partner in their health care. Ultimately, this is all about enhancing the patient experience.”
The NCQA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to driving improvement throughout the health care system.