Greater Living
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When a Doctor’s Office Becomes a Home

June 25, 2017
A few years ago, Greater Living included an announcement that the GBMC at Hunt Valley practice had become the organization’s first official Level 3 Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) as noted by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This important recognition was of great significance to the practice’s patients, as it meant the staff was fully equipped to provide more patient-centered and evidence-based care, focusing on prevention, wellness and the active management of chronic disease.

Now, GBMC has additional exciting news to share! Three more of its primary care practices have also attained this recognition: GBMC at Hunt Manor, GBMC at Texas Station and Family Care Associates.

What is PPC-PCMH?
The goal of the PPC-PCMH program is to improve primary care by encouraging organization, coordination, tracking of care and implementing the various technologies to facilitate such changes. Ultimately, these steps help healthcare organizations to provide better health and better care to their patients at a lower cost. Level 3 is the highest PPC-PCMH recognition currently obtainable; achieving this recognition takes about two years and is a great accomplishment for each primary care practice.

How the Practices Have Changed
Perhaps one of the most critical components to achieving PPC-PCMH status is the implementation of an electronic health records (EHR) system. An EHR system facilitates better communication between primary care physicians and specialists so that each provider involved in a patient’s care remains in the loop. This improves safety by helping to avoid treatments that may counteract each other and ensuring that follow-up appointments are kept. If patients have difficulty taking the next steps recommended for their care, practices can connect them with a care coordinator to assist. Additionally, patients are encouraged to be active participants in their healthcare through tools such as the MyChart at GBMC patient portal, which allows them to access information about their medical history and communicate electronically with their caregivers.

A strong emphasis is being placed on improving patients’ access to care. GBMC’s PPC-PCMH practices have made schedule adjustments to ensure they can take urgent appointments every day as well as get patients in for non-emergent issues more quickly. In fact, GBMC’s primary care practices offer extended weekday hours as well as Saturday hours (see page 9).

According to Ben Beres, Chief Operating Officer for Greater Baltimore Medical Associates (GBMA), the PPC-PCMH recognitions directly correlate with GBMC’s vision of providing every patient, every time, with the care that we would want for our own loved ones. “The hard work and dedication it takes to become a Level 3 PPC-PCMH is well worth it when you look at the benefits it brings to our patients. It is certainly the right thing to do for our community,” he says.

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