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GLFHC Earns National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has announced that Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) has received recognition from the Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) program for using evidence-based, patient-centered methods that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term patient/physician relationships. “The Patient-Centered Medical Home model is a promising and improved method of delivering high quality, efficient care to our patients,” according to Robert Ingala, GLFHC Chief Executive Officer. “GLFHC is proud to be identified as one of the leaders in the PCMH movement. Achieving this distinction places the Health Center in a select group of primary care practices across the nation.”

The PCMH model promotes partnerships between patients and their primary care clinicians. PCMH creates a medical team who will provide for all of a patient’s health care needs and will coordinate treatments across the health care system. Medical home clinicians demonstrate the benchmarks of patient-centered care by implementing open scheduling, extended clinical hours, and an effective use of current and expanded health information systems.
According to Dean Cleghorn, Chief of Quality Management and Research for GLFHC, “The Health Center has strived to maintain these high standards long before the PCMH model set national benchmarks. We have been a leader in helping patients to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits by offering culturally competent, community-based health care. Initial evaluation of the PCMH model indicates not only an improvement in the quality of care but also savings for payers, purchasers, and patients.”

NCQA has established three levels of PCMH recognition with Level 3 being the highest. To become a Level 3, PCMH requires an overall score of 75 or more out of a possible 100 points assigned to the total number of requirements. All four GLFHC clinical sites, which are located throughout Lawrence, received Level 3 recognition, scoring between 92 to 94.25 points. “The Patient-Centered Medical Home promises to improve health and health care,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “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 GLFHC has the tools, systems, and resources to provide its patients with the right care at the right time.”

To receive recognition, which is valid for three years, GLFHC demonstrated the ability to meet the program’s key elements. They include appropriate use of charting tools to track patients and organize clinical information, responsive care management techniques, as well as advanced use of information technology for prescriptions and care management. The standards are aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association. As a result of this recognition, GLFHC is now in an elite class of health care providers in the country. Among more than 352,000 primary care physicians in the U.S., only 5,100 clinicians, or 1.5% of practices, were in a NCQA-recognized Level 3 site.

ABOUT GLFHC: Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) is the second largest community health center in Massachusetts, serving more than 44,000 patients annually at four clinical sites in Lawrence, MA. Since 1980, the mission of GLFHC has been to improve and maintain the health of individuals and families in the Merrimack Valley by providing a network of high quality, comprehensive health care services and by training health care professionals to respond to the needs of a culturally diverse population.

ABOUT NCQA: Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010, NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in healthcare. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.

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