What Exactly Is PCMH?

Have you ever noticed the acronym “PCMH” floating around your pediatrician’s office? It’s easy to overlook this stamp of approval when you’re a busy parent with a sick child, but it’s important to know what this means for your doctor’s office behind the scenes.

PCMH stands for Patient Centered Medical Home, a designation given by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) to practices that meet high standards for providing comprehensive, team-based care to their patients. What does this mean for your child’s doctor? It means they’re accountable for addressing the patient’s entire medical picture, not just what they can manage in the primary care setting, and anticipating their population’s needs.

Examples of PCMH-compliant activities include daily huddles to prepare for incoming patients, monitoring appointment availability to accommodate families as best as possible, and tracking referrals, imaging, or outside lab work until the loop is closed and your provider can facilitate next steps based on results. Your pediatrician’s office also engages in regular reporting of patients with “care opportunities,” such as those due/overdue for a well visit, in need of a vaccine, or requiring follow-up for complex conditions. Based on these reports, you may receive communication from the office making you aware of what’s due and encouraging you to make an appointment.

As of 2020, all six ONE Pediatrics practices have maintained PCMH recognition. They followed rigorous guidelines to gain initial recognition, and each year they must attest and provide proof of their quality initiatives to sustain it. The NCQA updates their requirements every year to ensure practices are always striving for improvement, not settling for just “good enough.”

“Feedback from the families we care for is extremely important to us as a patient centered medical home,” says Dr. Eliot Thompson at Springs Pediatrics. “Our offices review every comment and concern to see where there’s room for improvement anywhere in the space from making an appointment to interfacing with your provider. We’re also mindful of positive feedback so we can keep providing the care that makes our patients and their parents happy. When you fill out a survey from a ONE Pediatrics practice, it’s reviewed within a week.”

Sustaining recognition is impossible without participation from everyone in the practice. Each physician, clinical staff member and administrative employee is responsible for contributing to coordinated care. Practices are not compensated for having PCMH recognition, nor is it affiliated with any specific insurance payer. Every patient their family are equally important.

To understand more about PCMH recognition, visit https://pcmh.ahrq.gov/page/defining-pcmh