OR: Patient Centered Primary Care Home Deadline; Criteria Changing

medical homeThe Oregon Health Authority is making substantial additions to the list of criteria it uses for Oregon clinics applying to be certified as patient centered primary care homes.

The new criteria adds 30 new standards to the list, increasing the total number to nearly 70 different standards relating to the type and quality of care patients receive, communicating with patients, and prevention services, among other things. It is the first time since 2011 that the list of criteria is changing, and the change takes effect starting in January 2014. Clinics have until December 31 to submit applications using the 2011 standards.

Patient centered primary care clinics coordinate all of a patient’s medical care, whether it’s physical, mental or dental. The term “medical home” has been coined to describe patient centered primary care clinics because they work to coordinate between the various clinics and providers a patient may use, house a patient’s medical information and history, and foster strong relationships between a provider and patient.

Clinics do not have to necessarily meet all the new criteria in order to become primary care homes, but there are some—such as providing continual telephone access to care, and having a screening procedure for mental health—that clinics must meet.

The applications clinics submit are evaluated using a point system; clinics get between zero and 15 points for each standard the clinics meet. So while the majority of the criteria does not necessarily need to be met, meeting them does add points to a clinic’s overall score.

Some of the new criteria includes:

  • Documenting any clinical advice or care given over the telephone into a patient’s medical record;
  • Providing same day appointments;
  • Providing patients with electronic copies of their medical records upon request;
  • Tracking the time it takes to complete prescription refills;
  • Generating lists of patients who need reminders about medical treatment; being proactive about advising patients, families and caregivers about the type of care a patient needs, and sending reminders to patients for follow-up care;
  • Tracking and increasing patient visits.

The new criteria resembles, in a lot of ways, the type of healthcare expected from the state’s coordinated care organizations: focusing on ways to engage patients, providing more efficient and effective healthcare that emphasizes prevention, managing chronic diseases, and decreasing use of emergency and specialty care.