Plano practice receives NCQA medical home certification
Add another achievement to an already decorated practice led by TAFP members Christopher Crow, M.D., M.B.A., and Sander Gothard, M.D., and colleague Matthew Weyenberg, M.D. Village Health Partners in Plano has become one of the only 11 practices in Texas to receive the recognition as a Level-3 patient-centered medical home from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Level-3 is the highest certification tier awarded to physician practices who achieve nine NCQA standards of the medical home, including evidence-based guidelines for chronic conditions, patient self-management support, performance reporting and improvement, and care coordination.
In 2009, this next-generation facility was featured in Texas Family Physician magazine. The article highlighted Village Health Partners’ groundbreaking work to provide a medical home to their patients through an electronic health record, a practice Web portal, and by providing open-access scheduling.
Under the three-year NCQA certification, Village Health Partners is recognized as a practice dedicated to promoting partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians. In a press release, NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane said, “The active, ongoing relationship between a patient and a clinician in medical homes fosters an all-too-rare goal in care: staying healthy and preventing illness in the first place. PPC-PCMH recognition shows that Village Health Partners has tools, systems, and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time.”
It has taken about two years since starting the certification application until the practice received its recognition. Weyenberg led the process of applying for the certification, which included gathering specific data for NCQA. “We were thrilled to see we were already doing 98 percent of what NCQA was requiring for medical homes,” he says.
To achieve certification, a practice must fulfill five out of 10 element standards: performance reporting and the use of paper or electronic charting tools, as well as scoring at least 25 points out of 100 to receive one of three certification levels, according to an NCQA press release.
Weyenberg says the Level-3 recognition comes at a time when the practice is implementing many improvements, like enhanced information exchange with the local hospital. “We’re trying to improve all the time, we just had [NCQA] look at the procedures we were already doing. What I hope can come from this recognition is a greater value added to medical homes.”
According to the press release, the PPC-PCMH model has shown promising results in improving care quality and reducing costs by increasing access to care. Village Health Partners’ practice design diminishes unwarranted cost by allowing patients to go from primary care physician to specialist treatment in the same day.
In addition to NCQA certification, Crow said in the release, “We’re pleased to be one of the first private medical groups in Texas to achieve NCQA’s highest level of recognition. We believe the medical home model is the future of outpatient care, which is why we also chose to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield in their first pilot.”
As part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield medical home pilot project, Village Health Partners must uphold appropriate use of charting tools, responsive care management techniques, adaptation to patients’ linguistic and cultural needs, as well as five other PCMH elements created by the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association.
Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., said in the press release that he values the new partnership with Village Health Partners. “As evidenced by its recent NCQA medical home recognition, Village Health Partners has exemplified quality care for their patients and our members, which further solidifies their place as a leader in Texas health care. We are pleased to work with a family practice that puts an extra emphasis on providing the highest quality of care.”
By Melissa Ayala, TAFP publications intern - Fall 2010