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PCMH in Region X

Tuesday, August 6, 2019  
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With an eye towards improving patient experience and health outcomes, since 2012 health centers in Region X have steadily adopted practices and standards that make them Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). Today, 85% of all health centers across Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are officially recognized as medical homes.


Percentage of Health Centers with PCMH Status Overtime 2012 - 2017


The growing adoption of PCMH recognition has not just been limited to health centers in Region X. Nationally, 74% of all CHCs had achieved PCMH recognition by 2017. But with three of the four states in Region X having PCMH rates higher than the national percentage,  the Northwest region has been a consistent leader in this area, with more widespread and faster adoption.


Percentage of Health Centers with PCMH Status by State - 2017


Health centers officially earn recognition by meeting the certification requirements of one or more accrediting agencies. The requirements vary per accrediting body, but, broadly speaking they tend to address five critical functions of medical homes identified by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ):


  • Comprehensive Care: the clinic must be able to respond to a large majority of physical and mental health needs, encompassing a diverse team of providers and services
  • Patient-Centered: the clinic must provide care that is patient-centered, whole-person, and responds to the individual needs and circumstances (both cultural and physical) of each person.
  • Coordinated Care: the clinic must coordinate patient care across the entire spectrum of the health care system, working seamlessly with speciality care, hospitals, and community services.
  • Accessible Services: the clinic must have systems that make access to care easily accessible, including short wait times and telehealth options.
  • Quality and Safety: the clinic must commit to quality improvement performance standards and evidence-based medicine.

In Region X, the majority of health centers achieve accreditation through the National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA), however a significant number of health centers in Oregon have achieved certification through the Oregon Health Authority’s program.


PCMH Accreditation Percentage


The hard work needed to achieve PCMH recognition is well worth it. There is ample evidence that medical homes have lower total cost of care and better health outcomes for their patients. And PCMH status among FQHCs has been shown to be associated with higher rates of diabetes and hypertension control, a trend that we’ve seen among Region X health centers.


UDS Quality Measures by PCMH Status


As a critical component of healthcare reform, the drive towards PCMH is revitalizing primary care across the United States. Health centers have been at the forefront of this movement, ensuring that our most vulnerable and underserved patients have a medical home.


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