At Tufts Medical Center, we are known for our commitment to providing the highest level of quality care to our patients. That dedication to patient care extends beyond the walls of the Medical Center, as Tufts MC’s satellite primary care practices have joined the Boston practice in receiving the esteemed National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Level-III certified Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) recognition. Obtaining PCMH Level-III status is an accomplishment that is highly coveted by primary care practices and difficult to earn. Tufts Medical Center Primary Care–Quincy received PCMH recognition in January 2015; Tufts MC Primary Care–Framingham became PCMH certified in April 2015.
Earning PCMH Recognition
The PCMH recognition program was designed to encourage providers to rethink and enhance the way patient care is delivered, with the goal of promoting and restoring health, lowering costs and improving patient satisfaction. The patient-centered medical home emphasizes care coordination and teamwork to offer primary care in a way that the patient wants it. A practice must satisfy a number of criteria in order to gain PCMH Level III recognition. First, the practice must evaluate its procedures and systems according to the NCQA PCMH standards and guidelines, then identify what improvements can be made in order to better serve its patients. Next, the practice must implement these improvements, while simultaneously keeping expenses low. The Quincy and Framingham practices met or exceeded all of the necessary benchmarks by establishing, applying and maintaining changes that resulted in contained costs, better health and enhanced patient experience.
Key Changes Benefit Patients
To qualify for PCMH status, the Quincy and Framingham practices recognized a need for integrating resources to help effectively and efficiently manage the health of their patients. Possessing an organized documentation system is the foundation that allows this to happen. With this in mind, the practices revamped their documentation systems in order to clearly outline notes related to previous care in medical records. This modification provides care teams with an up-to-date summary of a patient’s health and allows physicians to optimize productivity during appointments by focusing on the current health-related needs of their patients. In addition, the enhanced system supplies data to weekly reports that monitor when a patient is due for key preventive health screenings and measures.
The Quincy and Framingham practices also re-designed the structure of their care teams so that each team contains a one-to-one medical doctor to medical assistant ratio. Establishing this close-knit team dynamic has boosted communication among providers and ultimately allows physicians to be more proactive in managing the health of their patients.
“Earning PCMH level III recognition is no easy task. The staff, providers and managers responsible for driving the changes, implementing the new processes and making the commitment to improving the patient care systems deserve a great deal of credit,” said Community Practice Manager Sophie Ward, who oversees all of Tufts MC’s off-site primary care practices.
Receiving PCMH Level-III recognition has helped the practices boost awareness in the Quincy and Framingham communities, and both practices have seen a spike in new patient requests as a result.
For more information about the satellite primary care practices, or to book an appointment, please call 857-403-4600 for Tufts Medical Center Primary Care–Quincy and 508-532-0223 for Tufts Medical Center Primary Care –Framingham.