Healthy Tahoe: 7 points about Barton’s patient-centered medical home recognition
Diabetes, heart disease, depression, and other chronic diseases are on the rise. For someone living with a chronic disease, this often means more doctor appointments, more time with specialists, and more stress and pain. What if the disease could have been prevented? Or, when diagnosed, what if someone could guide you through the lifestyle choices and steps to manage your care?
In a proactive effort to address the rise in chronic disease and provide a patient-centered approach to care, medical providers at Barton Family Practice in Stateline, NV and Barton Community Health Center in South Lake Tahoe, CA pursued and received the National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition.
What does this recognition mean? Like lots of medical jargon, it’s a mouthful to say and it’s complex. Here are key points about how Barton Health is using this recognition to improve your medical care experience and how this new model helps you, as a patient, collaborate with your primary care provider and take charge of your health.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PATIENT
The Patient-Centered Medical Home is a team approach to primary care where the patient is at the center of care. The primary care provider (PCP) acts as the patient’s go-to person or partner to address the patient’s specific physical and mental health needs, and anticipate possible medical issues before they escalate.
IT’S NOT A PLACE
The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is not a home or physical place, but refers to an evidence-based approach to health care that uses best practices, health information technology, and collaboration between the patient and their medical providers.
IT’S A NEW KIND OF MEDICAL PARTNERSHIP
PCMH revolves around a partnership between the patient and their primary care provider. The primary care provider is the point person who knows, cares for, and guides the patient in getting the medical care and support they need, when they need it, and in a manner they can understand.
IT’S A CONTINUUM OF CONSTANT CARE
The care experience includes annual wellness visits, preventive screenings, an after hour nurse advice phone line, and on-going communication digitally through MyChart. Behind the scenes in the primary care provider’s office, assessment and referral processes are standardized making a patient’s care thorough, and follow through with treatments and referrals consistent. This provides the patient improved access to specialty services and specialists that cater to the patient’s specific needs.
IT IMPROVES THE CARE EXPERIENCE AND REDUCES MEDICAL COSTS
Research shows that using the medical home model improves the care experience and patients’ access to services while reducing the number of medical appointments and lowering overall costs.
IT’S THE CARE WE ALL WANT
It seems that all patients would want this kind of personalized care and Barton’s medical providers and staff agree. It’s what patients expect and by getting the PCMH Recognition, it means Barton Family Practice and Barton Community Health Center checked all the boxes in making a seamless and standardized approach to primary care.
IT’S NECESSARY TO FIND A PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER
For a Patient-Centered Medical Home to be an effective approach to care, a patient must have a primary care provider. A primary care provider is the health care practitioner a patient sees for wellness visits and common medical issues. It typically is a doctor, however, it can also be a family nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
It’s important to schedule a wellness visit with your primary care provider annually. If you do not have a primary care provider, go to bartonhealth.org/primarycare to learn more about primary care services in the South Tahoe community and the importance of having a go-to partner for your care. During the pandemic, many health visits are offered virtually for the safety of patients and staff.
Dr. Paul Rork is the medical director of outpatient quality at Barton Health.
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