A regional health care initiative has led to nearly 160,000 patients in the North Country being cared by a patient-center medical home (PCMH).
The initiative led by the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) with support from the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), helps patients with primary care in and around Fort Drum.
The Fort Drum region now comprises of 19% of PCMH Level 3 and 71% of Level 2 recognized rural providers nationally located in a Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA).
“Over the past two years, the region’s primary care providers dedicated themselves to transforming the way care is delivered and coordinated. We are enormously proud of what they have accomplished,” said Corey Zeigler, health information technology (HIT) program manager at FDRHPO. “With the adoption of electronic health records and a truly patient-centered model of care, we now have a high-quality, coordinated healthcare system that is poised to improve health in the region tremendously.”
A “patient centered medical home” is a primary care practice that serves as the hub for its patients’ healthcare needs, placing an emphasis on care coordination and standardization. The regional effort engaged the support of 32 primary care and 3 specialty practices, 2 urgent care clinics and 5 hospitals spread across a 40 mile radius, spanning Jefferson, Lewis and southern St. Lawrence counties.
Each practice and clinic has fully adopted electronic health records (EHR) systems, and all 32 primary care practices have achieved PCMH recognition from the National Commission for Quality Assurance at Level 2 or 3 (the highest levels of recognition). Further, all sites are now connected through a Health Information Exchange, allowing providers to exchange patient information across the provider continuum.
The two-year, $6.7 million project was supported by a grant from the New York State Department of Health. PCDC, a nonprofit organization that works to expand and transform primary care in underserved communities, supported the practices by providing health IT and medical home assessments; facilitating project planning; planning for workflow changes related to electronic medical record adoption and care management; and working with the practices to sustain quality improvements.