Only Objective Review Reveals What’s a Medical Home

Responding to research mentioned in a Health Affairs blog post, NCQA President Margaret O’Kane explained why objective assessment of practice capabilities is the critical step in PCMH Recognition.

NCQA is proud of the PCMH program and has been pleased to see it being implemented in many community health centers. Many studies (including ones published in Health Affairs) have shown success in improving access, reducing emergency room use and admissions.

We want to note that this particular pilot did not include having NCQA evaluate the practices directly (the usual approach) but rather used the NCQA tool for self assessment. The self-assessment that these centers reported is intended to show where improvement is needed. We have found that documentation of use of the guidelines combined with objective evaluation of that documentation is critical to an accurate conclusion of a clinic’s qualification as a Recognized PCMH by NCQA. Indeed, the language we have in the Survey Tool states that organizations cannot make any representation about their Recognition, or even readiness for Recognition, based solely on self-assessment, because that objective review is so important.

Margaret E. O’Kane
President, NCQA

This comment is in response to the Health Affairs blog post "Assessments of Community Health Centers As Medical Homes May Be Flawed." Click here to view the post.