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Leadership Team Leads Clinic to PCMH Recognition

Paige Fieldsted, Sr. Communications Specialist, HealthInsight Utah

Becoming a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) has been a goal of Canyon View Medical Group for years and that goal recently became a reality when the clinic was awarded Level 2 PCMH recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

The group began working on becoming a PCMH in 2012 first with SelectHealth and then as part of HealthInsight Utah’s Regional Extension Center PCMH Pilot program. Curt Pulsipher, practice administrator, said they felt PCMH is the best chance at success in the changing health care world.

“We’ve recognized for quite some time that the face of medical care is changing and PCMH had its heart in the right spot and the most chance of success,” Pulsipher said. “We started working with SelectHealth, with their PCMH program, and we worked really hard with that group. Then we got this opportunity with HealthInsight and we jumped all over it. We thought having some time and help to move us to the next step would be really useful to us.”

The PCMH committee at Canyon View met regularly with the HealthInsight team over the course of several months to find gaps in processes, make changes to ensure proper care of patients and get the documentation ready to apply for the NCQA recognition.

Janet Tennison, the PCMH project manager at HealthInsight, said one of the keys to Canyon View’s success was having a strong PCMH team and a strong provider champion in the practice.

“They have a very strong leadership team and had PCMH meetings once a month that were attended by a large spectrum of staff. They had a much stronger provider champion than a lot of clinics,” Tennison said. “Getting everybody’s perspective and having people that are champions for change in all the different units in the clinic are critical to success.”

Pulsipher said one of the changes they made was selecting a younger medical director that was really on board with the concept of a PCMH. Pulsipher said the medical director was key to getting other physicians on board and working toward making the changes necessary to become a PCMH.

“Dr. Walton wasn’t afraid to take baby steps and was able to show small successes so the other physicians would say ‘That wasn’t too bad, what’s next?’ and then we would take the next baby steps,” Pulsipher said. “We started getting some incentive money from payers by transforming our practice. When we show that we could get better care for patients and be rewarded for the work, doctors are more than happy to do the work.”

Jennifer Elliot, PCMH coordinator at Canyon View, said that training medical assistants (MAs) to their fullest potential and implementing MA/physician huddles has been another key to the success of the group. She said that many of the MAs now feel more involved in patient care rather than just feeling like ushers; a difference the patients have noticed as well.

“We had a brand new patient come to our practice and when we contacted him to come in for some routine tests he said he’d never been contacted to come in for tests like this before and that he really appreciated it,” Elliot said. “He said he felt like he found someone who has his best health care interests at heart.”

At Canyon View, better patient care has led to better patient outcomes. Pulsipher said the group has seen the difference using electronic health records (EHRs) and putting PCMH processes in place can make.

“We are filling out the HealthInsight Physician Office Quality Award and I noticed we have a lot more measures than we did before,” Pulsipher said. “We have really made improvements in the outcomes of patients. Many doctors dislike EHRs but then they see the results and see their patients have improved. We have changed doctors’ opinions; we are proving to them that tracking things electronically get results.”