WASHINGTON, DC— The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today applauded the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative. The initiative, announced by CMS this week, will align efforts by Medicare and other public and private insurers to help primary care providers deliver higher quality, coordinated, patient-centered care.
“This has enormous potential to increase the number of Americans who will be getting the kind of high-value care provided in Patient-centered Medical Homes,” said NCQA President Margaret O’Kane. “The result will be more satisfied patients with fewer costly emergency department and hospital admissions because they get the access, personal attention and care coordination they need and deserve.”
Patient-Centered Medical Homes organize care around patients and work in teams to coordinate, track and improve care. That means:
  • Patients have long-term partnerships with clinicians, not a series of sporadic, hurried visits.
  • Clinician-led teams coordinate care, especially prevention and chronic conditions.
  • Medical homes coordinate other clinicians’ care and community supports, as needed.
  • Medical homes offer enhanced access through expanded hours and online communication.
  • The medical team promotes shared decisions so patients make informed choices and get better results.
Also as part of the new initiative, Medicare will substantially increase its financial support for practices providing this kind of care as it works to coordinate on standards with other payers.
Outside the initiative, different payers within the same markets have been asking primary care providers to use different tools while providing incentives only for the patients they cover in the practice.  
“Medicare beneficiaries, who often have multiple chronic conditions treated by many different clinicians, have the most to gain from the coordinated, patient-centered care that medical homes provide,” said O’Kane. “This initiative takes medical homes to the next level by bringing all payers together to support this powerful transformation of primary care into what patients want it to be. It is another important step to ensuring that all Americans have access to more affordable high quality health care.”