In its ongoing efforts to advance quality of care, three physician practice locations of Western Connecticut Health Network were certified as “medical homes,” becoming the first healthcare delivery system in Connecticut to earn the designation for this unique model of care taking shape in the healthcare industry. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) awards the “patient-centered medical home” designation to physician practices that meet strict criteria, offering “superior value” and “clearly demonstrating they have systems in place to meet nationally recognized standards for delivering high-quality care.”
The first two locations to earn “medical home” status were the Brookfield and Southbury primary care locations of Western Connecticut Medical Group – the large, multi-specialty physician group that works closely with Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and other affiliates of Western Connecticut Health Network. Additionally, the Seifert and Ford Community Health Center earned “medical home” designation to bring a greater focus on access, coordination and communication for patients seeking care in downtown Danbury.
So what is a “patient-centered medical home” model? Imagine having one personal physician who works with a team that manages all of your healthcare needs for life.
“Under the medical home model, a personal physician leads a team of healthcare professionals who collectively take responsibility for patient care throughout all stages of life – from birth to end-of-life issues,” explained Robert Carr, MD, Southbury’s former medical director. “The team addresses all of the patient’s preventive and medical care needs, and arranges for appropriate care with other qualified clinicians, when necessary.”
Studies show medical homes can improve access to care and patient outcomes, while at the same time reduce healthcare costs, said Rob Mascia, MD, Brookfield’s medical director. “The medical home model represents a fundamental change from the way healthcare is being delivered today,” he said. “We want to engage patients in the decision-making process so they become more knowledgeable about their care.”
According to Dr. Carr, future plans include establishing medial homes at other network locations throughout the region to better serve area residents. He also hopes medical homes will “bring many of those satisfying aspects about practicing primary care medicine to the forefront,” prompting medical school students to choose the specialty. The nation, including Connecticut, faces a critical shortage of primary care physicians. “It’s a model for practicing medicine that can satisfy both patients and physicians,” he said.