Come together

July 15, 2011

A shortage of primary care physicians, decreased reimbursement, and increased complexity of patient care can make delivering patient care harder than ever. A new Asheville model shows what teamwork can accomplish.

Key Points

Through the center's patient-centered medical home, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, a dietician, and behavioral medicine specialists work together to meet the needs of each patient, whether the goal is to manage diabetes, to combat the effects of osteoporosis, or to find a way to help pay for a new medication.

Residency training in family medicine

By allowing each medical professional to focus on what he or she does best, MAHEC has developed a full-service family practice in which all its team members are valued and respected for their individual skills and knowledge.

NCQA and structural specifics

According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), not all patient-centered medical homes are created equal. The nonprofit organization has developed an accreditation system that designates and recognizes 3 levels of patient-centered medical homes. Evaluation of each medical home depends on how well it meets NCQA standards.

The standards were created as tangible and measurable ways to meet the 7 principles of a patient-centered medical home jointly developed in 2007 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association. The more comprehensive the patient-centered medical home, the more points the practice will receive under NCQA's accreditation system. MAHEC has been designated a level III patient-centered medical home, the highest distinction given by the organization.