EMMC Primary Care Office Second in Nation to Receive Top Quality Certification

08/14/2008

EMMC’s Husson Internal Medicine has become the first primary care office in the northeast, only the second in the nation, to achieve certification as a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the National Committee on Quality Assurance. The NCQA is the nationally recognized, quasi-governmental agency tasked with assessing quality in a variety of healthcare settings, setting best practice criteria and issuing certification.

Until recently, the NCQA’s highest certification was Physician Practice Connection Certification, which all EMMC primary care offices achieved two years ago. While it is a laudable achievement in its own right, these certifications have some practical advantages for patients as well. Here in Maine, for example, state employees can save money on their doctor visits if their physician is NCQA certified. To date, EMMC primary care offices are the only ones in Maine to have the special Physician Practice Connection quality certification.

"PCMH certification is the highest primary care quality assurance that NCQA bestows," says Michael Donahue, vice president of Physician Practices at EMMC. "The medical home replaces traditional episodic care with care based on an ongoing relationship between patient and personal physician and a team that is responsible for that patient’s care. The model enhances care through open scheduling, expanded hours and heightened communication, as well as careful tracking and management of chronic illnesses."

"This certification should be part of the patient’s thinking when choosing their personal physician," explains Iyad Sabbagh,MD, lead physician at Husson Internal Medicine. "It means the whole team at the office is working together to quickly process patient information, lab results, pharmacy orders, and hospitalizations to assure needs are met and nothing falls through the cracks."

The concept of medical home describes the place where the patient and physician together take responsibility for health, chronic disease management, lifestyle choices to maintain good health. EMMC’s other primary care offices are expected to receive the certification by the end of September.