In developing a culture of health in the workplace it is crucial that employees visit physicians who can help them address health and lifestyle issues in a patient-centered manner. A growing and increasingly recognized way to do this is to partner with medical practices that are organized and certified as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). Mark A. Bloomberg, M.D., M.B.A., senior physician executive at HealthNEXT, recently became certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a PCMH Content Expert. In this interview, he explains the importance of the PCMH efforts and what they mean to building a culture of health and improving a company’s bottom line.
What are Community Provider Alignment Programs?
When companies make efforts to improve the health of their employees, the forgotten person is often the employee’s personal physician. We correct this by incorporating local medical providers into the broader effort to build a culture of health.
Why is this important?
Unless incorporated into this overall effort, the personal physician is often unaware of what needs to be done by his/her office to support the employer’s initiatives and may unwittingly undermine them.
Can you give us an example?
As part of a company’s culture of health program, an employee may have identified smoking cessation as a priority. If well-integrated into the employer’s programs and motivated to be supportive of them, the employee’s personal physician is in a position to reinforce the patient’s desire and take the necessary clinical steps to insure success.
What is the most important step to integrate personal physicians into the company’s efforts?
The most important thing that can be done to create this alignment is for a medical practice to become certified as a Patient-Centered Medical Home.
What is a PCMH?
A Patient-Centered Medical Home is simply a medical practice that has re-engineered itself to focus on its patients first. By doing so, it can provide clinical care and services in a way that makes it easy for its patients to receive higher quality care. This re-engineering can be extensive and often is difficult, but makes the practice much more patient-friendly.
What is different about a PCMH medical practice?
A medical practice that has transformed itself into a PCMH focuses on the following areas:
- providing enhanced access to care both during and outside of office hours
- coordinating care with other health care providers
- tracking all laboratory and imaging test results with reporting to the patient
- managing chronic diseases to prevent complications
- measuring and improving the quality of the clinical care and service offered to patients
Can you give us a few examples of what changes a patient would see?
To become a PCMH, a practice is required to offer same-day appointments to patients. The practice also is required to reliably track and report to the patient all laboratory and imaging study results, whether negative and positive. The practice is also required to coordinate care with any specialists the patient is seeing.
How can I tell if my physician’s office is a PCMH?
Practices must be certified as a PCMH to be recognized as such. To earn this certification they must re-engineer their office to meet a lengthy list of detailed standards published by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), which oversees the entire program. You can see details here.
How does this relate to what HealthNEXT does?
Because PCMH is so central to developing a culture of health, HealthNEXT works to identify and support PCMH-certified practices that are able to best serve the health care needs of those employees. HealthNEXT also is well positioned to work with the key local practices already caring for a company’s employees to assist them in converting to and maintaining themselves as a PCMH. NCQA has certified a number of PCMH Content Experts through a comprehensive education and testing program. I’m proud to have successfully achieved this certification. This expertise provides a valuable way to assist medical practices in understanding the importance of becoming PCMH certified and the path to doing so.
Contact HealthNEXT to learn more about how we can help you achieve a culture of health and improve your bottom line.