NCQA Launches Redesigned Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition

New PCMH Recognition program helps primary care practices lower costs and improve quality

April 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has introduced a new version of its Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition program. The streamlined program is designed to save primary care practices time, and help them to focus on providing effective, patient-centered care.

The medical home model improves health care by transforming how primary care is organized and delivered. Research shows this model improves the quality of care patients receive and reduces health care costs. NCQA’s program is the most widely-adopted PCMH model in the country. One in six eligible physicians in the U.S. practices in an NCQA-Recognized PCMH.

“We used feedback from practices, policy makers, payers and other stakeholders to redesign PCMH recognition,” says Michael S. Barr, MD, Executive Vice President, Quality Measurement and Research Group. “This improved process makes the PCMH program more manageable for practices and concentrates on performance and quality improvement.”

The biggest change is the move from a three-year recognition cycle to an annual check-in, promoting ongoing quality improvement. NCQA evaluates a primary care practice’s implementation of PCMH concepts and requires yearly reporting on quality improvement to sustain recognition. This allows practices to put the PCMH infrastructure in place and focus on providing better care. NCQA’s is the only PCMH program in the country to take this approach.

The new process also offers:

  • Flexibility. Practices take the path to recognition that suits their strengths, schedule and goals.
  • Personalized service. Practices get more interaction with NCQA, and are assigned an NCQA representative who works with them throughout the recognition process and is a consistent point of contact.
  • User-friendly approach. Requirements remain meaningful, but with simplified reporting and less paperwork.
  • Continuous improvement. Annual Reporting help practices strengthen as medical homes. By reviewing progress more often, performance improvement is kept at the top of the priority list.
  • Alignment with changes in health care. The program aligns with current public and private initiatives and can adapt to future changes.

Along with the launch of the program, NCQA developed a toolkit which helps practices determine whether they are eligible or ready for PCMH recognition. This toolkit also guides practices through the PCMH recognition process. An updated directory helps patients find NCQA-Recognized practices in their community.

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