HOUSTON (Nov. 4, 2010) – The Harris County Hospital District is the first healthcare system in Houston to achieve Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Home designation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The prestigious recognition of the hospital district’s 12 health centers and one school-based clinic is a major milestone in healthcare delivery for patients in the Houston area.
Current federal health reform measures call for restructuring a highly fragmented healthcare system across the nation by increasing integration, coordination and access to care. The medical home model is the primary-care component of a coordinated continuum of services that is held clinically and fiscally accountable for the health status of patients served.
“This is important for the Harris County Hospital District because it provides us the framework to build on practices to focus all of our attention on our patient needs,” said Dr. Robert Trenschel, senior vice president and administrator, Ambulatory Care Services, Harris County Hospital District. “We’re shifting the way we care for our patients and the way we do things by using evidence based guidelines to standardize how we manage chronic disease and right-sizing our services. The fact that our system is the first to achieve this recognition in the third largest county in the country is significant, and speaks to the fact that the safety net is alive and well in Houston.”
The term “medical home” describes a healthcare delivery site—in this instance, Harris County Hospital District's 12 health centers and its school-based clinic—where patients have an ongoing relationship with a personal physician who provides patient-centered, coordinated and high-quality care to patients.
Under the new medical home model, episodic care based on illnesses and patient complaints will be replaced with coordinated care and a long-term healing relationship with that facility and physician. Physicians work with a coordinated team to provide a patient with his ongoing primary and specialty care.
The goal is to optimize life-long health and well-being through the provision of high-quality healthcare services that continue uninterrupted as the individual moves along and within the hospital district’s systems of care.
“This prestigious designation is a reality because our health centers met or exceeded extremely stringent criteria for patient safety and patient quality,” said George V. Masi, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Harris County Hospital District. “For years, our dedicated staff have worked collaboratively to provide patients and our community access to care and ensure appropriate coordination and integration of services.”
Each year, the Harris County Hospital District provides care for more than one million patient visits to residents through its health centers, clinics and hospital clinics.
National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is a private, independent non-profit organization, dedicated to improving healthcare quality and committed to measurement, transparency and accountability at all levels of the healthcare system. The organization’s recognition programs identify medical practices that deliver superior care using standards firmly rooted in medical evidence. The standards for NCQA recognition as Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Homes, include stringent measures, such as:
- Access and communication
- Patient tracking
- Care management and patient self-management support
- Electronic prescribing and advanced electronic communications
- Test and referral tracking
- Performance reporting and improvement
Recognition of these facilities will distinguish them as providers of integrated, quality healthcare:
- Acres Home Health Center
- Aldine Health Center
- Almatha Clark Taylor School-Based Clinic
- Baytown Health Center
- Casa de Amigos Health Center
- E.A. “Squatty” Lyons Health Center
- El Franco Lee Health Center
- Gulfgate Health Center
- Martin Luther King Health Center
- Northwest Health Center
- People’s Health Center
- Settegast Health Center
- Strawberry Health Center