participate in national program
St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics will participate in a national initiative to transition primary care clinics into Patient Centered Medical Homes. Five sites across the nation were selected by the Commonweath Fund and Qualis Health. The Idaho Primary Care Association, Boise, will serve as one of the five Regional Coordinating Centers. CVHC and SMHC are two of the 13 Idaho partner clinics included in the four year, $6 million national program.
“It is an honor to be part of this national initiative whose goal is to improve the patient experience while increasing efficiency within the system,” said Casey Meza, CEO, CVHC/SMHC. “The program will focus on family practice as the optimal place to receive patient centered care. The Patient Centered Medical Home or PCMH is a relatively new term. We’ll be working with partners within the state and across the nation to help develop a model that may become a cornerstone of how primary care will be provided in the future.”
The initiative is being led by Qualis Health, a Seattle-based quality improvement organization, to provide support to the states and local health centers to improve quality of care. “While many of the participating community health centers and other safety net clinics have implemented creative innovations to provide high quality, cost effective, patient-centered care, all have identified—and are committed to closing—gaps between their current systems and the best achievable performance,” said Jonathan Sugarman, M.D., the principal investigator, president and CEO of Qualis Health.
The initiative will assist 68 community health centers in five states, Idaho, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Pennsylvania. The clinics will be given technical assistance, training and ongoing support to improve how they coordinate and deliver care to patients, to enhance access to care and to enhance doctor-patient interactions. The PCMH model will also incorporate the use of technology to improve patient care and clinic efficiency. It will explore reimbursement structures that reflect a lower cost of care.
Dr. Jeremy Ostrander will be the physician leader at SMHC and Dr. Kelly McGrath will be the physician leader at CVHC. Shari Kuther, RN, SMHC and Vicky Petersen, RN, CVHC will be the nursing leaders for the grant.
“We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us during the next four years, but we are committed to constantly improving how we provide quality health care to our patients of today and tomorrow,” said Meza. “We’ll have technical expertise available to us and will continually be exchanging effective ideas with our national and other state partners.”
In Idaho, in addition to CVHC/SMHC the partner clinics include Idaho State University Family Medicine Residency, Pocatello; Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Boise; Terry Reilly Health Services, Nampa; and Health West, Inc, Pocatello.
The Commonwealth Fund is joined in support of the project by eight co-funders, including the Colorado Health Foundation (www.coloradohealth.org), Jewish Healthcare Foundation (Pittsburgh)(www.jhf.org), Northwest Health Foundation (Portland, Oregon) (www.nwhf.org), Partners HealthCare (Boston) (www.partners.org), The Boston Foundation (www.tbf.org), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation (www.bcbsmafoundation.org), Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health (www.bcidahofoundation.org), and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston)(www.bidmc.org).