UNC Children’s continuity clinic recognized for offering highest level of patient-centered care

By focusing on patients' individualized health needs, the Division of General Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine achieves recognition as a NCQA "Patient-Centered Medical Home," enhancing care through patient-clinician partnership.

The UNC Children and Adolescent Continuity Clinic at N.C. Children’s Hospital has been recertified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a level III Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).   

“Using this care model, our pediatric providers partner with the child and his or her family to ensure all of the child’s medical needs are met,” explains Diane Howell, MD, director of the UNC Child and Adolescent Continuity Clinic. “Care is truly individualized, and the model helps ensure quality and consistency from well child care, to care for routine illnesses, and even the management of more complex or chronic conditions. Our team is focused on complete care over the course of the child’s growth in development.”

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, better the patient’s experience, and reduce costs and resource utilization. To achieve PCMH goals, UNC Children’s continuity clinic initiated a system of team-based care. Specific groups of physicians and nurses collaborate in clinic and coordinate treatment of their assigned patients across the health care system with the assistance of clinic-based early childhood and community resource specialists. Clinicians also implemented several quality improvement measures to decrease disparities in care and ensure patients receive the appropriate preventive services.

This marks the second time the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine has earned this prestigious, three-year distinction. The clinic first became certified by NCQA as a level III Patient-Centered Medical Home in April of 2011.

Recertification entailed a rigorous reassessment process based on updated standards. UNC’s clinic is one of only three primary care pediatric clinics in the Chapel Hill-Durham area to achieve NCQA recognition for providing the highest level of family-centered care. Notably, UNC’s clinic is also the state’s only level III-certified teaching clinic for resident physicians in the field of pediatrics.

“UNC has been a long-time proponent of keeping patients and parents central in the high quality care we provide,” adds Michael Steiner, MD, director of children’s clinics and chief of the Division General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. “Achieving this recertification in the children’s continuity clinic was a logical progression for us in demonstrating that commitment to quality, patient experience and team medicine.”

Medical homes have been shown to foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Research specific to pediatric care has shown that children receiving care from a patient-centered medical home are less likely receive inappropriate antibiotics, have lower rates of hospitalization and require fewer emergency department services.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA president, Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that the UNC Children and Adolescent Continuity Clinic has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.” 

UNC Children’s recertification as a level III Patient-Centered Medical Home was announced July 1 and will be valid through June 30, 2017.

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