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Columbus physicians honored for care

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Columbus Regional Health Physicians and eight of its primary care physician practices have received national recognition for outstanding patient-centered medical home practices.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance has recognized the physician practices for their ability to transform primary care practices into medical homes. A medical home is a team-based health care delivery model that provides comprehensive and continuous medical care to patients.

NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of health care. The organization accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of 21st century primary care that combines access, teamwork and technology to deliver quality care and improve health, said Margaret E. O’Kane, NCQA president.

The recognition shows these practices with Columbus Regional Health Physicians have the tools, systems and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time, she said.

This is the first year Columbus Regional Health Physicians has received the designation.

Kurt Ellis, vice president of health systems operations for Columbus Regional Health, said the group’s physicians embraced the medical home concept about three years ago and applied for the recognition in December.

“This is a systematic approach that we have taken within Columbus Regional Health, and the divisions that compose family practice have developed a team-based approach that focuses on access, communication and patient involvement,” Ellis said.

Andy Reynolds, assistant vice president of marketing and communications for NCQA, said some contemporary health care has turned into an assembly line where physicians no longer have a connection with patients.

“The medical home concept flips that around, and the whole point is to establish or re-establish ongoing relationships with caregivers and patients,” Reynolds said.

“Many times insurance companies will pay medical homes more than conventional practices because they have determined that in the long run medical homes help patients stay healthy, and that keeps costs down.”

Only about 10 percent of primary care physician practices nationwide earned the designation in 2014, Reynolds said. The eight Columbus Regional Health Physicians practices are among 63 statewide to receive the recognition this year.

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