What is a Patient Centered Medical Home?

Interior Community Health Center – Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH)

ICHC staff, leadership and Board of Directors work tirelessly to provide excellent, affordable and accessible care. Because of these efforts, ICHC is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for demonstrating the ability to meet the PCMH program’s key elements.

To receive this high recognition as a Medical Home, ICHC excelled at:

  • putting each patient and their health care at the center
  • providing 24/7 access to health care services through extended hours, same day and walk-in appointments, and after-hours on call providers
  • using health information technologies, such as electronic medical and dental records
  • organization-wide quality measurement and improvement efforts
  • care management for at-risk patients
  • health coaches for patients with chronic conditions

The health outcomes of ICHC patients demonstrate the effectiveness of care:

  • 74.8% of patients have controlled diabetes (Alaska average is 68.9%)
  • 70.6% have blood pressure under control (Alaska average is 62.5%)
  • 70.1% if women who were due for a cervical cancer screening received one (Alaska average 48%)

What is a Medical Home?

ICHC is a leader in adopting the NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home model that puts patients at the forefront of care.

The basic mission of a medical home is to build a close partnership between clinicians and patients—to ensure that patients aren’t left alone to navigate an increasingly complex health care system, and that patients receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time.  This means including patients in decisions about which treatment approach is right for them, enabling patients to talk to a clinician after regular office hours and hiring nurses and care managers to follow up with patients after an office visit.

All these activities are geared toward a single goal: ensuring that the patient always remains front and center.

What is Primary Care?

Whether a family physician, an internist or a nurse practitioner, primary care providers are often the first contact with the health care system.  At ICHC, providers diagnose and treat common illnesses and spot health problems before they become serious. They offer preventive services such as flu shots, cancer screening, and counseling on diet and smoking, and play an important role in helping to manage the care of patients with chronic health conditions.

Why is Primary Care important for your health and budget?

Research shows, when people don’t have access to a regular primary care provider, they end up in emergency rooms more often, and they’re admitted to hospitals more frequently. Without regular screening, a controllable condition like high cholesterol—which often can be kept in check with regular attention —can eventually lead to a life-threatening heart attack.

Evidence shows that regular access to primary care can help us live longer, feel better, and avoid disability or long absences from work. Another big plus: health care costs are lower when people have a primary care provider overseeing their care and coordinating all the tests, procedures, and follow-up care.