The National Committee for Quality Assurance recently awarded five University of Texas Medical Branch primary care clinics with a Level Three Patient-Centered Medical Home certification, the highest level of patient-centered care and the most important recognition awarded in the area.
The UTMB Community-Based Clinics provide several key outpatient services, such as wellness and health visits, and are committed to making access to care much easier for community residents. The awarded clinics are:
- Pediatric and Adult Primary Care Clinic, Alvin
- Pediatric and Adult Primary Care Clinic, League City
- Pediatric and Adult Primary Care Clinic, Friendswood
- Pediatrics Clinic, Texas City
- Adult Primary and Specialty Care Clinic, Texas City
A clinic must meet rigorously high standards in order to meet Level Three certification, such as same-day appointments and very short waiting-room times; full and relaxed attention from health professionals; specific protocols to address patients suffering from chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes; and electronic medical record systems that enable access to everyone (patient, family and medical team).
Cynthia Judice, who is UTMB’s Primary Care chief medical officer, said in a press release: “We hold the patient’s hand every step of the way. If we refer you to a cardiologist, we assist with finding one near where you live and help make the appointment for you. Afterwards, we get information back from the cardiologist and work with them to better coordinate your care. If you need community services like transportation, we help with that, too.” She added that the clinic also wants to educate patients about their medical conditions so they can be included in each decision-making process for treatment approaches.
“This recognition is a big deal. It assures the 115,000 patients we see every year that we have followed stringent recommendations and passed rigorous performance reviews. Every member of these clinics – from the physicians to the front desk – has been working toward this goal for the past several years. The excitement about getting this certification is providing even more enthusiasm in our clinics to continue raising the bar and ensuring we provide the best personalized preventive primary care available,” concluded Judice.
Mary Beth Ray, UTMB’s manager, emphasized the patient-centered care that the clinics offer, concluding that “In the past, you would see your doctor when he or she was available. Now, you are seen when you want to be seen and we help take care of your needs at the appropriate time, which improves health outcomes and keeps patients out of the hospital.”