KNOXVILLE – Continuing the commitment to provide the highest level of primary care at all its locations, Knoxville Hospital & Clinics CEO, Kevin Kincaid, has announced that the primary care practices at Knoxville Hospital Clinic and the EJ McKeever Medical Clinic have achieved recognition as “Level 3” Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), the highest recognition level possible, from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The Knoxville Hospital Clinic and EJ McKeever Medical Clinic are the only two primary care practices in Marion County to be recognized level 3.

PCMHs promote a partnership that allows the patient and his or her care team to get to know each other and work together to improve the patient’s health. A personalized care plan is developed for patients that need them, and the patient’s care team will review the plan regularly to ensure that it is working to keep the patient healthy. The team keeps up with the patient’s health progress, tracks test results and health screenings, and makes sure the patient receives the right care at the right time. PCMHs are particularly effective at promoting routine and preventive primary care, and have been found to reduce emergency room visits among their patients.

“Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) are transforming primary care practices into what patients want, focusing on patients themselves and all of their healthcare needs. With this model, each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician who leads a team of individuals within the practice who collectively provide care for all stages of life,” said Kincaid. “This is a model of 21st Century primary care that coordinates care across the health care system; uses information technology to make sure patients get the right care; emphasizes quality and safety; and enhances access by expanded hours.”

The NCQA found that the Knoxville Hospital Clinic and EJ McKeever Medical Clinic have integrated the best elements of private practice in coordinating care and making care accessible including: implementing an on-call system where patients reach their doctor if situations arise that could affect their care; new care-management procedures to identify high-risk patients; referral tracking and follow-up; and supporting self-care, and the ability to document and measure performance in meeting these goals. Other significant PCMH benchmarks to achieve the highest level of recognition include:

  • Extended hours of operation beyond a 9-to-5 schedule, so patients can juggle appointments along with their real-life obligations. Providing expanded hours around patients’ schedules also helps to minimize unscheduled Emergency Room visits.
  • Greater availability for outpatient appointments, including same day appointments, so that if a patient has an urgent condition he or she can be seen promptly. This produces better service for patients as it is more likely they will receive treatment by a provider they know, and who is familiar with the details of their medical condition.
  • Developing a care team for each patient, which offers patients the reassuring experience of interacting with the same doctor or nurse at each appointment. This continuity of care enables patients to develop a relationship with providers who know their situation firsthand.
  • Tracking of patients during each step of their care by their care team who provide proactive intervention, not merely reactive treatment. If a patient is in need of a refill of their prescription, that can be handled through direct communication to their pharmacy, without an appointment, making it far easier and more convenient for the patient to adhere to their medication plan. The care team also makes pre-visit calls to ensure that a patient’s test or screening results have been received so the patient and their care providers can take action immediately on any medical issues, rather than wait until an office visit. By keeping track of patients who suffer from chronic conditions, managers are able to identify triggers and catch ailments before they spiral out of control.
  • Collaborating with patients on their self-management plans ensures that a personal connection is made between providers and their patients, so that care providers become familiar not only with a patients’ ailments, but with any barriers that may exist to successful healthcare outcomes. From medication reconciliation to education and guidance to nutritional counseling, a patient’s care team becomes the first line of defense for any condition.

Evidence shows the many benefits of PCMHs, including better quality, patient experience, continuity of care, prevention and disease management. Studies also show lower costs from reduced emergency department visits and hospital admissions.

“NCQA’s PCMH recognition shows that KHC has the tools, systems and resources to provide our patients with the right care at the right time,” said Dr. Brent Hoehns, KHC physician. “It is a way of organizing primary care that emphasizes care coordination and communication to transform primary care into what patients want it to be.”

Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, a Critical Access Hospital serving Marion County and the surrounding area, is dedicated to providing personal, progressive quality health care with compassion.  For more information regarding this release and other happenings at Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, call the Public Relations office at (641) 842-1418 or visit www.knoxvillehospital.org.