Health Matters: MCHC Awarded NCQA Recognition as Patient-Centered Medical Home

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July 2017

Ukiah, CA – MCHC Health Centers has just become the first healthcare organization in Lake or Mendocino County to receive the National Committee on Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) highest recognition: all three MCHC sites have achieved recognition as Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Homes.

The Patient-Centered Medical Home emphasizes a team-based approach to care. It offers comprehensive services including medical and dental service, behavioral health, preventative services, wellness care, acute and chronic care, obstetrics and women’s health services and, crucial to the wellbeing of its patients, case management. It encourages patients to get involved in making their own healthcare decisions. “Medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patients’ and providers’ experience of care,” a NCQA spokesperson said.

MCHC Quality Improvement Director Dr. Jaisingh Niemer explained that MCHC continually strives to improve quality and meet the highest national standards. “Though quality improvement is a continuous process, achieving NCQA recognition demonstrates MCHC’s ongoing commitment to quality. It’s an important milestone.” he said.

NCQA updates its standards on a regular basis, so it requires NCQA-recognized organizations to fully engage in ongoing improvement to their clinical practices. “In 2011, NCQA standards focused on how to best care for individuals with chronic diseases. Its 2014, standards additionally focused on care coordination and population management. To meet these goals, MCHC proactively engages patients in their health by contacting them and reminding them to come in when it is time to get preventive or chronic care,” Dr. Niemer explained.

A stand-out difference in a Patient-Centered Medical Home is its team-based approach. Strengthening the relationship between patients and providers enhances MCHC’s ability to recommend care that best fits with the individual’s unique needs, culture, values and preferences. The PCMH approach also focuses on preventive care, helping patients manage chronic diseases. It makes counseling available when added support can improve a patient’s ability to achieve their healthcare goals. It allows the team to identify and respond to serious challenges to wellness that extend beyond the exam room, connecting patients affected by poverty, lack of housing, access to healthy food and support systems to agencies that can improve their lives. The availability of evening and weekend hours also makes it easier for people to get care.

A Patient-Centered Medical Home system is more efficient and less expensive. Through prevention and education, and through well-coordinated treatment, patients feel better because they stay healthier, and they can also avoid expensive visits to the hospital emergency room. Dr. Niemer said, “Because the Patient-Centered Medical Home leads to better care and lower costs, this approach is becoming the new standard in healthcare. MCHC is proud to be at the forefront of this culture change.”

MCHC is a local non-profit organization providing access to comprehensive healthcare for people in Ukiah, Willits and Lakeport. All MCHC health centers accept Medi-Cal, Medicare, Covered California insurance and other insurance. Learn more at www.mchcinc.org.

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