The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) and the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) recognized that for the next several years Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) have the opportunity to participate in two important initiatives that are expected to improve health care and bring financial incentives to providers, Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Meaningful Use (MU) of Electronic Health Records. Both initiatives will yield significant financial and organizational benefits to providers, including improvements in care quality, higher satisfaction among providers, staff and patients, and overall reductions in health care costs.
However, meeting the PCMH and MU requirements is difficult, expensive and resource‐intensive for many FQHCs whose staff capacity and financial resources are often stretched to their limits. Both initiatives require keen knowledge of more than 150 factors and standards; preparation and documentation of organizational policies and reporting mechanisms; redesign of workflows and operations; and optimally using HIT, particularly EHR.
In spring 2010, PCDC and CHCANYS partnered to develop the PCMH/MU Learning Collaborative (“the Collaborative”) to assist 12 health centers in New York City in achieving PCMH recognition and MU certification. This is the first initiative of its kind to advance the perspective that these two efforts can be addressed simultaneously. Themed to “measure twice cut once” the collaborative empowered these 12 health centers to identify and design successful implementation strategies to achieve medical home recognition and meaningful use certification. The six-month program provided health centers with the knowledge, tools, and resources to:
- Compile an NCQA PPC‐PCMH survey submission with the goal of obtaining PCMH recognition at a level appropriate for the organization
- Prepare to collect 90 days of data for required Stage 1 MU objectives with the goal of attesting; and
- Identify future areas of improvement to fully embody the principles behind the medical home and meaningful use concepts.
The program, funded with private foundation dollars, ran from July 2010 through January 2011 and consisted of four full‐day sessions and three activity periods. During these full-day sessions, participants planned for the work they needed to accomplish in the following activity period. During the activity periods, teams used the concepts and methods presented at the training sessions to achieve their goals around preparing the PCMH survey and MU attestation.
A variety of support mechanisms were provided during the activity periods including webinars, webinettes, conference calls and 1:1 coaching to provide participants with the information and assistance they need to progress toward achieving their goals and carrying out their work plans.
- 12 FQHC organizations submitted a total of 26 NCQA medical home applications; 75% achieved Level 3.
- All 12 are on track to receive their first Stage 1 MU payments