San Antonio residency program receives NCQA medical home certification
Million-dollar HRSA grant to aid in implementation
By Erin Redwine
The Christus Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency Program in San Antonio was certified as a level-3 patient-centered medical home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, making it the first practice in Bexar County and the second residency program in Texas to receive this recognition.
Level-3 is the highest certification level awarded to physician practices that attain the NCQA standards of the medical home, which include evidence-based guidelines for chronic conditions, patient self-management support, performance reporting and improvement, and care coordination.
“This is the realization of a project we have been working on at our clinic for almost three years now,” says Associate Residency Program Director David Ortiz, M.D. “We set up our program and teaching clinic up to be a patient-centered medical home so that when our residents graduate to be practicing physicians they will already understand what a patient-centered medical home is and how to carry it out.”
A report recently released by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative found that PCMH demonstrations increased the quality of care and reduced the cost of care. “With this model we can start partnering and work together to take better care of our patients, and share in the cost savings,” Ortiz says. “We can work with hospitals, health systems, and payers to bend the cost curve in health care.”
NCQA says its ultimate goal for the PCMH initiative is to improve primary care. Christus seeks to accomplish that with quality improvement projects and surveys, teams working together to solve problems and track care over time, and by coordinating care to reduce costs.
The first residency program to receive this recognition in Texas was the Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program in Sugar Land, Texas, led by Residency Director David W. Bauer M.D., Ph.D. Ortiz says that the Memorial program’s success inspired them to seek the certification. “Our mission is that every residency program in the state of Texas would eventually get this recognition to show that they are committed to quality improvements and to confirm the success of the practice.”
In addition to the NCQA certification, the Christus residency program was awarded a five-year, $1.6 million-dollar grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Training Programs in Primary Care initiative. Christus will use the funding to develop and implement residency curriculum to teach the complex care model of treating chronic diseases, and to employ a complex care manager to reach out to at-risk patients to manage their conditions before they worsen.
“We are excited about both of these awards because they are separate but related in that they are trying to provide better care for patients,” Ortiz says. “With these tools we can really go out and improve the health care system.”