Release Date: 3/26/2012
Physicians creating 'patient-centered medical home'
Damon Broyles, M.D., family practice specialist at Fenton Family Medicine and one of the SAPO physicians certified to participate in the pilot program.
Extended hours, expanded services and enhanced quality of care are just some of the benefits patients can expect from a “Patient-Centered Medical Home.”
Currently, five primary care physician practices that are members of St. Anthony’s Physician Organization (SAPO), are participating in a pilot project that is designed to improve how healthcare is delivered.
“It’s setting a new standard of excellence for primary care,” said Ron Finnan, practice administrator for the SAPO primary care physicians. “There are three levels of certification to become a Patient-Centered Medical Home, and we expect to reach Level 1 within 18 months.”
The five SAPO practices are among 80 Missouri practices participating in the 18-month transformation project, which provides training through “learning collaboratives” to help the practices become medical homes. Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH), an independent funder of community health activities in Missouri, is funding the training.
Additionally, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri is paying each practice a monthly amount to cover the cost of services associated with creating a medical home, as well as a monthly amount for clinical care management. Part of Anthem’s monthly payment pays for a care manager at each practice, a registered nurse who helps coordinate every aspect of each patient’s care. The care manager:
- advises patients regarding preventative care and help them make healthy lifestyle decisions, to lessen their chances of developing serious health problems;
- notifies patients regarding the need to schedule immunizations, screenings, lab work and other tests;
- schedules regular check-ups with the physicians to monitor the patient’s health and to prevent emergency procedures;
- coordinates the patient’s care, whether in a specialist care setting or a community-based setting, using portable, up-to-date electronic medical records;
- provides medical care accessibility 24/7, through a secure online patient portal, e-mail or telephone, so the patient can avoid a trip to the urgent care or emergency department;
- offers patient/family education, to ensure that they are fully informed and to engage them in the self-care management process.
Patients can realize other benefits as well, resulting from a unified care plan. For example, a diabetes educator visits the primary care practices as needed, to advise and educate patients with diabetes. Care managers can help access community resources for patients and their families – like securing financial help to pay for their medications, identifying therapy options in their neighborhoods or checking on the availability of short-or-long-term nursing home care.
“Patients have a better chance of staying healthy when their healthcare is managed, coordinated and timely,” said Damon Broyles, M.D., family practice specialist at Fenton Family Medicine and one of the SAPO physicians certified to participate in the pilot program. “This also helps improve the doctor/patient relationship and increases patients’ satisfaction with their medical care. It’s a more focused approach to quality care – making patients and providers a unified healthcare team.”
Ultimately, the Patient-Centered Medical Home is designed to help cut down on emergency department visits, reduce the number and duration of hospital stays and eliminate duplicative procedures and testing. Diagnosing and treating health problems earlier can save patients’ time, money and suffering and, sometimes, their lives.
“The primary care specialty becomes all-encompassing, as the physician looks to treat the physical, emotional, mental, psychological, sociological, economic and spiritual needs of the patient,” Finnan said. “Can the physician, alone, provide all of this? Absolutely not. But the physician can be the quarterback for the rest of the healthcare team. It’s a partnership among physician, care manager, staff, patient and family.”
While the Patient-Centered Medical Home is unquestionably a more satisfying experience for the patient, it also is a more fulfilling model of care for physicians, said Dr. Broyles. “In the past, doctors were paid according to volume of patients; now it will be on value provided to patients,” Dr. Broyles said. “It is a way to deliver more personalized care to our patients. Additionally, patients who are involved in the process are more likely to be compliant and their treatment is more likely to be successful.”
Eighteen SAPO physicians, two physician’s assistants and two nurse practitioners currently are participating in the training through the collaboratives. The practices are located at:
Arnold Family Health Care, 3619 Richardson Square Drive, Suite, 170, Arnold;
Fenton Family Medicine, 714 Gravois Road, Suite 210, Fenton;
St. Anthony’s Family Health Partners, 59 Grasso Plaza, Affton;
Telegraph Road Family Medicine, 4438 Telegraph Road;
To schedule an appointment with one of these physicians, or with any St. Anthony’s physician, call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 1-800-554-9550.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.