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May 29, 2014
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

University Pediatric and Adolescent Center earns recognition for patient-centered care

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital Pediatric and Adolescent Center (UPAC) has been designated as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The national designation reflects UPAC’s use of evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships.

UPAC, located at Presidential Plaza in downtown Syracuse, sees about 20,000 patient visits annually, and provides care for children in the local community, including foster care and refugees.

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a model of care emphasizing care coordination and communication to transform primary care into “what patients want it to be.” Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and improve patients and providers’ reported experiences of care. The PCMH identifies practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their personal clinicians, instead of treating patient care as the sum of several office visits.

Steven Blatt, M.D., the center’s pediatric director, said the yearlong effort to achieve the PCMH designation helped make the clinic run with greater efficiency. “We hired additional staff, reorganized the continuity clinic to accommodate a new team-based approach, and developed structured diagnostic and treatment protocols for the management of chronic conditions within the continuity program,” he said.

An outcome of the more streamlined approach to care was patients spent less time waiting to see a health professional once at the clinic, and an increase in some routine screenings.

Another key change was to place each patient in a dedicated clinical care team that provides for all the patient’s health care needs and coordinates treatments across the health care system.

During each visit, patients only see a member of their team, which is comprised of nurses, nurse practitioners, medical residents and physicians.

“The continuity of care is of utmost importance in a patient-centered medical home model” said Susan Mahar, P.N.P. “When a patient is seen by a member of their team, it enable all practitioners in the group to gain a familiarity with a patient’s health and well-being.”

Another member of the pediatric faculty that was instrumental in gaining the NCQA recognition was Brad Olson, M.D.

The changes at UPAC, which have been instrumental in earning the NCQA recognition, have also led to an increase in some patient satisfaction scores.

“The patient-centered medical home raises the bar in defining high quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and partnerships between clinic and patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. P.C.M.H. recognition shows that Pediatric and Adolescent Center has the tools, systems and resources to provide patients with the right care at the right time.”

To receive the recognition, which is valid for three years, Upstate Pediatric and Adolescent Center demonstrated ability to meet the program’s key elements embodying the characteristics of the medical home. The standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established by the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

Upstate Pediatric and Adolescent Center met the key program components in the following areas:

—written standards for patient access and continuity of care
—use of patient feedback materials
—appropriate use of charting tools to track patients and organize clinical information
—responsive care management techniques with an emphasis on preventive care for individual patients and for the entire population.
— adaption to patient’s cultural and linguistic needs
—use of information technology for prescriptions, test and referral tracking and coordination with other health care providers
—use of evidence-based guidelines to treat chronic conditions
—measurement and reporting of clinical and service performance.

The NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA certifies and accredits a wide range of health care organizations.

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