The "Leonard Wood Medical Home" has received the highest category of recognition for Patient-Centered Medical Home program care by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

The "medical home" care model identifies patient-centered practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their personal clinicians instead of treating patient care as the sum of several episodic office visits.

The PCMH care model, as well as the Army's new "System for Health," both includes team-based and patient-centered practices for better communication and comprehensive care to engage patients as partners in their own care.

"We received 'Level 3' recognition, which is the highest Level, as did the Ozark Family-Centered Medical Home clinic," said Diane Hell, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital administrative officer.

NCQA recognition qualifies a medical treatment facility to be referred to as a "Medical Home."

Patient-Centered Medical Home standards are aligned with the joint principles of the PCMH established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association.

"The patient-centered medical home raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and partnerships between clinicians and patients, "said NCQA President Margaret O'Kane.

"PCMH recognition shows that Leonard Wood Medical Home has the tools, systems and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time," O'Kane added.

With PCMH, each patient's care is tended to by clinician-led care teams, who provide for all the patient's health care needs and coordinate treatments across the health care system.

Leonard Wood Medical Home met key program components in the following areas:

--Written standards for patient access and continuity of care.

-- Use of patient feedback materials.

--Appropriate use of charting tolls to track patients and organize clinical information.

--Responsive care management techniques with an emphasis on preventive care for individual patients and for the entire patient population.

--Adaptation to patient's cultural and linguistic needs.

--Use of information technology for prescriptions, test and referral tracking, and coordination with other health care providers.

--Use of evidence-based guidelines to treat chronic conditions.

--Measurement and reporting of clinical and service performance.

To receive recognition, which is valid for three years, Leonard Wood Medical Home demonstrated the ability to meet the program's key elements embodying characteristics of the medical home.

Medical home clinicians demonstrate the benchmarks of patient-- centered care, including open scheduling, expanded hours and appropriate use of proven health information systems.

NCQA recognition levels provide medical facilities with a range of capabilities and sophistication to meet the standards' requirements successfully based on a point system.

"There are three levels of NCQA PCMH recognition," Hell said. "Each level reflects the degree to which a practice meets the requirements of the elements and factors that comprise the standards."

Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality, lower costs, and improve patients' and providers' reported experiences of care, according to the NCQA.

(Editor's note: Brooks is the marketing and public affairs officer at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.)