FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 21, 2013) -- After one year of hard work, Kenner Army Health Clinic has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Level III Army Patient-Centered Medical Home.

NCQA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. Since its founding in 1990, it has been a central figure in driving health improvement throughout the health care system.

As part of the recognition process, NCQA reviewed hundreds of documents submitted by the KAHC staff, which provided fact-based evidence that the clinic was conducting business as a true Medical Home.

"NCQA recognition at this level ensures that patients enrolled at Kenner will enjoy a consistent health care experience," said Col. Thomas S. Bundt, KAHC commander. "This is achieved through enhanced provider-team partnerships and coordinated preventive care planning ensuring a truly patient-centered experience."

NCQA measures the ability of medical facilities to provide quality health care through standardized, objective measurement guidelines. It requires recognized facilities to enhance access to care and patients' continuity with their provider teams, keep track of patient data to help manage patients' well-being, plan and manage care using evidence-based practices, provide self-care support and community resources, as well as track and coordinate tests, referrals and other care for patients.

Finally, clinics have to show that they measure their performance and patients' feedback to continue improving the quality of care.

Here's what patients can expect from the KAHC Medical Home.

• A personal provider. Each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner who is trained to provide first contact, continuous and comprehensive care.

• Physician-directed medical practice. The personal physician leads a team(s) of individuals at the practice level who collectively take responsibility for ongoing patient care.

• Whole person orientation. The personal provider is responsible for providing all of the patient's health care needs or for arranging care with other qualified professionals.

• Coordinated and Integrated Care. Each patient's care is coordinated and integrated across all elements of the health care system and the patient's community.

• Quality and Safety focus: All members of the health care team are focused on ensuring high quality care in the medical home.

• Improved access: In the PCMH, enhanced access to care options are available through open scheduling, same day appointments, secure messaging, and other innovative options for communication between patients, their personal physician and practice staff.

"Our staff will continue to work diligently to help patients with a chronic illness keep their diseases, such as diabetes or asthma, under control and keep them out of the hospital," said Bundt. "Additionally, we will work to help healthy patients stay healthy with preventive screening and the ability to ask questions and get test results by the use of secure messaging."

My Medicine's goal is to have all of its primary care facilities in the continental United States and overseas achieve NCQA recognition and transform to the Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care no later than Oct. 1, 2014. The transition to the PCMH model of care is part of Army Medicine's overall shift from a health care system to a system for health.