All UAMS Family Medical Centers Earn Highest Patient-Centered Status
(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Sept. 4 -- The University of Arkansas's School of Medical Sciences issued the following news release:
Three University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) family medical centers recently earned national recognition as Level III patient-centered medical homes, completely the goal of achieving Level III status for all eight UAMS family medical centers statewide.
A patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a clinical setting where health professionals work as a team to address patients' immediate and long-term medical needs. Level III patient-centered medical home is the highest recognition given by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Family medical centers at UAMS regional centers in Magnolia, Springdale and Texarkana attained Level III status in late August. UAMS family medical centers in Jonesboro, Fayetteville and Pine Bluff earned the recognition in June. The UAMS family medical center in Fort Smith received the status in 2013 and the center in Little Rock attained the designation in 2010.
"I'm immensely proud of our UAMS family medical centers in Regional Programs for accomplishing this significant task," said Mark Mengel, M.D., UAMS vice chancellor for Regional Programs. "Not only does it mean we will obtain better outcomes for our patients, but this new team-based model of care will mean a better experience for our providers as well."
The patient-centered medical home creates partnerships between individual patients, their physicians and the patient's family. Care is facilitated by registries, information technology and health information exchange so patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it.
In 2012, several of the regional family medical centers earned Level II status. UAMS spent $6-$8 million to hire additional personnel and purchase information technology to better integrate patient care at the regional centers. New software was used to create a disease registry and standardize data entry for electronic medical records.
It also means for patients same-day appointments, quickly answered telephone calls, an on-call resident they can reach after hours and on weekends, and overall improved care coordination. With the patient-centered medical home model, more frequent communication takes place outside the exam room between each patient and each center's physicians and staff. Between visits, more is done to monitor a patient's condition and help the patient stay on a treatment plan.
In addition to improving patient outcomes, the model promises to cut costs by reducing the need for hospitalization or emergency room care. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, seven medical home demonstration projects at primary care practices reported a 6 percent to 40 percent reduction in hospitalizations, a 7 percent to 29 percent decline in emergency room visits and a savings of $71-$640 per patient.
Nationally, about a quarter of the primary care practices have adopted the patient-centered medical home model.
The NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care. It has worked with leading national medical organizations like the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians to develop PCMH recognition standards.
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