TriHealth to Adopt Medical Home Model as the Preferred Standard of Care for Employed Primary Care Physician Practices

Bethesda Inc. Awards $6 Million Grant to TriHealth to Accelerate Adoption; 

Model Has Resulted in Higher Quality of Care, and Patient and Physician Satisfaction

Cincinnati, OH (November 29, 2010) – Sparked by a $6 million, two-year grant from Bethesda Inc., TriHealth announced today it will adopt the “Patient-Centered Medical Home” model as the preferred model of care for its employed primary care practices. The integrated health system already has three employed primary care practices recognized as level III Medical Home providers through the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) with plans for the majority of employed primary care practices within TriHealth to achieve the recognition in the coming year. This is part of an ongoing effort to improve the quality of patient care and lower associated costs, which is in alignment with the key goals of national health reform. 

TriHealth, with 27 employed primary care physician practices comprised of 119 adult primary care physicians throughout Greater Cincinnati, is among the first integrated health systems in the nation to formally adopt the model as its preferred standard of care. Locally, TriHealth’s Medical Home adoption is at the forefront of a regional shift in how primary care will be delivered – with more than 80 of the region’s primary care physician practices expected to be engaged at some level in the Medical Home model in the coming year, one of the nation’s highest concentrations.  

The Medical Home model is an approach to providing comprehensive primary care for children, youth and adults.  It unites the physician and other care providers in a single, coordinated team taking a ‘whole person’ orientation toward a patient – providing easier access to care, improved coordination and integration of care, and increased efforts to ensure safety and quality. 

“We are committed to helping primary care physicians succeed in the new health care environment,” said Will Groneman, vice president, system development at TriHealth. “Patient-focus, preventive care and cost management are at the center of health reform, and the Bethesda Inc. grant helps make it possible for physicians and their practices to deliver on that goal.”

Key to the success of a Medical Home practice is the utilization of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Unlike many other health systems, TriHealth began implementation of an EMR at the physician practice level before expanding its use across the hospital environment. Physicians have been able to collect and store patient information in a clinical data warehouse and will continue to enrich the quality of those records as they adopt the Medical Home model.

“The clinical data warehouse is a powerful tool for physicians to deliver even better quality of care to their patients,” said Georges Feghali, M.D., chief medical officer for TriHealth and practicing internal medicine physician. “We can access information – at the touch of a button – about how patients are complying with prescribed treatment s and visits.” 

Imagine the benefit of generating a report in minutes to discover which diabetic patients are overdue for a recommended check-up or are showing a pattern of decline in vital statistics over time. Then imagine the benefit of physician practices instantly using that data to improve patient health through simple action steps like check-up reminder calls or complex steps such as revising treatment programs and engaging needed specialists.

Bethesda Inc., whose mission is to support health care innovation, collaboration, education and research in Cincinnati, awarded the grant to help transform primary care from reliance on episodic and expensive treatments in response to illness -- to a focus on wellness and successful management of chronic conditions throughout a patient’s life, including end-of-life care.

Bethesda Inc. Grant Will Help Transform Primary Care Locally

“Bethesda Inc.’s legacy is rooted in developing the best possible health care resources and innovating how care is delivered in Greater Cincinnati,” said James Pearce, chairman of the board of Bethesda Inc.  “This grant enables TriHealth’s employed primary care physicians to provide more comprehensive and proactive patient care, broaden their ability to collect and warehouse data, and report results. “

Studies have shown that the Medical Home model improves quality of care, enhances patient satisfaction and engagement, and creates a more rewarding practice experience for Primary Care Physicians including general practitioners, internists and family practice specialists.

In a medical home practice environment, both patients and physicians see a variety of improvements in the delivery of primary care: 

 

  • Care follows a proactive plan to meet patient needs focusing on preventative care and disease management without waiting for acute symptoms; this includes check-up reminders or things like vaccination schedules. 
  • A knowledgeable and prepared team of health care professionals coordinates all patient care. This results in an enhanced experience for patients, including less waiting time, more scheduling flexibility and better traction of medical history and records.
  • Quality of care can be measured, enabling providers to make improvements more readily. 
  • Patients become partners in care, moving from reactive to proactive involvement, accommodating patient’s treatment preferences, life situations and language barriers. 
  • A measure reduction in resource utilization can result, with the goal of lowering overall health costs. 

 

The TriHealth Medical Home initiative will align with principles established by the Health Improvement Collaborative of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q).  

“From a patient’s perspective, care will be more responsive, personalized, transparent and proactive,” Robert Graham, MD, director of Cincinnati Aligning Forces for Quality and a nationally recognized expert on Medical Home models.  “This funding gives critical mass to the Medical Home concept in Greater Cincinnati and will enhance our community’s reputation as a leader in delivering quality primary care. “

“Cincinnati will be better able to recruit additional physicians to our community,” said Groneman. “TriHealth employed primary care physicians have shown they are committed to this idea and are enthusiastic partners in finding new ways to deliver the highest possible quality care, better manage the costs of care, and deliver both to their patients.”

About TriHealth

TriHealth is an integrated healthcare system formed as a partnership between Good Samaritan Hospital and Bethesda Hospital, Inc. TriHealth provides a wide range of clinical, educational, preventive and social programs. The system also includes an ambulatory network, a research division, physician practices, corporate health, hospice care, a fitness and health pavilion, and other providers working together to improve the health status of the people it serves. For more information about TriHealth, visit the Web site at http://www.trihealth.com.

About Bethesda Inc.                                                          

Bethesda Inc. has been a leader in developing health-related services in the Greater Cincinnati community since 1896. Today, Bethesda Inc’s mission is to support health care innovation, collaboration, education and research in Cincinnati. It is one of two joint sponsors of TriHealth, which is an integrated health delivery system that operates Bethesda North Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Hospice of Cincinnati, and several other physician, employer-based and ambulatory services. Bethesda Inc. also the parent corporation of The Bethesda Foundation Inc., which provides support for Bethesda North Hospital and Hospice of Cincinnati. For more information, visit http://www.bethesda-inc.com.rable reduction in resource utilization can result, with the goal of lowering overall health costs.