staffs attend conference
Staff from St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics presented at a Boise conference for participants in Idaho’s Safety Net Medical Home Initiative. SMHC and CVHC were named with 11 other Idaho facilities to participate in a seven million dollar, five year initiative funded by the Commonwealth Fund and eight regional co-funders including the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. The initiative is administered by Qualis Health and the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation.
The two day conference was hosted by the Idaho Primary Care Association, coordinator of the Idaho program to transform primary care clinics into medical homes in five states. The four other states receiving funds and assistance include Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
“The conference allowed the Idaho participants and other stakeholders to share their experiences since being awarded the grant in May, 2009,” said Pam McBride, SMHC/CVHC project coordinator. “We each described our progress including our successes and our challenges. It was a great opportunity to learn from one another.” Other partnering facilities include Idaho State University Family Medicine Residency in Pocatello; Family Medicine Residency of Idaho in Boise, Terry Reilly Health Services in Nampa and Health West, Inc in Pocatello.
Conference speakers included a presenter from Massachusetts addressing payment reform and a speaker from the Washington, DC based Bureau of Primary Health Care. Two representatives from the Pennsylvanie program attended as did representatives from Alaska and Hawaii who are not participating in the initiative, but are interested in introducing reform in their states.
Other Idaho stakeholders who attended included Tom Kearns, Primary Care Program Manager for Medicaid; Representative John Rusche from Lewiston; and the Medical Director of Regence Blue Shield.
“Our goal is to improve the patient experience whenever our patient enters any of our seven medical clinics,” said McBride. “We’re beginning to initiate the concept of ‘huddling’ which means the care team meets prior to the patient appointment to decide on a variety of things including what lab tests could be done prior to the appointment so the doctor can discuss the results directly with the patient. We’re also initiating the Centricity software system to electronically compile an individual’s electronic health record which will eventually generate patient reminders for preventive screens. We’ve obviously got a long ways to go, but it is said that every journey begins with a single step.”
SMHC/CVHC has also begun to consistently track various health indicators such as A1C testing for people with diabetes. Patient records are being pulled to track how often those are ordered and completed. A goal of 100% compliance has been set and procedures are in place to increase that compliance score. The clinics have also resumed patient satisfaction surveying to help track differences in the patient experience when medical home concepts are used.
In addition to McBride, staff attending the conference included Dr. Vanessa Brown and Dr. Kelly McGrath, CVHC; Dr. Jack Secrest, SMHC; Vicky Petersen, CVHC Clinics Manager; Shari Kuther, RN, SMHC Clinics Nurse Manager; and Tina Fernandez, CMA, Cottonwood Clinic.
A follow up conference next spring will convene representatives from the five states selected as participants in the nationwide initiative.