Blue Hill Family Medicine was one of only 26 practices in the state selected to participate in The Maine Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Pilot, an effort to bring better primary care services to Maine. More information about this exciting project is available from Quality Counts! Blue Hill Memorial Hospital issued a news release on this project when the award was announced.
Since the time of this award, Blue Hill Family Medicine has been certified as a patient centered medical home by the National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare in the United States.
NCQA describes the patient centered medical home as “a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between individual patients, and their personal physicians, and when appropriate, the patient’s family. Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.”
According to Catherine Princell, RN and a care coordinator for the hospital’s largest family practice, the new model of care places a high value on the use of systematic, patient-centered, coordinated care management processes. Access and communication, care management, test and referral tracking, and performance reporting are among the aspects of care that are measured. “All of these processes feed into an accountable care environment,” says Princell. “We know that we will be measured and reimbursed according to the healthcare outcomes of our patients, and our team based approach will help keep our patients healthier, contain costs, and increase efficiency.” Princell adds that efficiency is especially important in rural practices, where recruitment of primary care providers remains a major concern.
Blue Hill Family Medicine will be the last of the physician practices at Blue Hill Family Medicine to implement electronic medical records (EMR) later this year. “Electronic medical records are an important part of our patient-centered medical home model and our commitment to accountable care,” says Deb Turner, vice-president physician practices for the hospital. “As we get all of our practices online with EMR, we’ll be in a position to roll out our patient centered medical home model to Stonington, Castine, and Bucksport. Our patients and our providers will benefit tremendously.”