Kaniksu Health earns prestigious PCMH honors

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(Courtesy photo) Kaniksu Health Services has earned Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance — the highest level possible. Pictured in the back row, from left, are Victoria King, CEO; Stacey Ward, director of information technology; Jade Dardine, M.D., family practice chief of staff; Deb Dawson; Adam Weaver, D.D.S., dental director; Amber Villelli, director of quality improvement; Meagan Forge, human resources director; and Kiersten Ogbiede, director of nursing. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Denise Bauer, business operations supervisor; George Deland, M.D., pediatric chief of staff; Adam Weaver, LCSW, behavioral health director; and Kevin Knepper, CFO/COO.

Kaniksu Health Services has earned level 3 patient centered medical home recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, which is the highest level attainable.

Since its founding in 1990, NCQA has been a central figure in driving improvement throughout the health care system. This national program recognizes community health centers and primary care practices that demonstrate the highest levels of coordinated and effective patient care; level three being the highest achievement in meeting PCMH requirements.

“Recognition as a patient centered medical home offers our patients reassurance they are receiving the highest quality of care, regardless of their ability to pay, as Kaniksu Health Services strives to meet and exceed nationally recognized standards that regulate the program,” said Kevin Knepper, Kaniksu chief operations and financial officer.

Becoming a PCMH-recognized organization through the NCQA is no small feat as the requirements are rigorous and they only get tougher to meet each year, he said. Patient-centered medical homes are driving some of the most important reforms in healthcare delivery today. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that PCMHs are saving money by reducing hospital and emergency department visits, mitigating health disparities, and improving patient outcomes. These medical home delivery sites inspire quality in care, cultivate more engaging patient relationships, and capture savings through expanded access and delivery options that align patient preferences with payer and provider capabilities.

PCMH recognition is based on meeting the criteria of nine standard categories, and was developed as an alternative to the costly fragmented state of health care currently in practice. Patient centered medical homes encourage coordinated care efforts to create long term healing relationships between physicians and patients; ultimately improving patient outcomes by shifting focus from treatment options to prevention methods.

Each year PCMH standards build on the success of earlier standards to make the program even more responsive to patients’ needs, said Amber Villelli, director of quality improvement at Kaniksu.

“In our efforts to transform our practice into one that makes us better stewards of our patients’ care, we have committed to meeting and exceeding NCQA patient-centered medical home standards,” she added.

As a PCMH, Kaniksu Health officials said the facility offers improved patient access via extended hours, same day appointments, online access and after hours advice so our patients can get the care they need when they need it. PCMH practices get to know their patients in long-term relationships, making decisions together to promote good self-management practices and work to act proactively through outreach and pre-visit planning. The Kaniksu team works to address all the elements of a patient’s needs, from behavioral health to dental and patient assistance to care management. They act as a hub for a patients’ healthcare needs, coordinating care between specialist, hospitals, hospice and even the schools and nursing homes. PCMH practices awork to connect patients to community resources when necessary and pay close attention to quality to reduce costly and preventable complications and emergencies caused by mismanaged and/or uncoordinated care of chronic conditions.

“By committing to quality standards like those set by the NCQA,” said Dr. Jade Dardine, family practice chief of staff, “We, as physicians, are not only improving our own situation through better aligned incentives, but the larger and more meaningful effect is that the improvements finally make it possible for us to do all of the things we have always known to be good for the patient’s overall care.”

Kaniksu Health Services is a federally qualified community health center that provides high quality comprehensive and affordable medical, pediatric, dental, behavioral health and veteran care. The clinic is staffed with family physicians and dentists that you can trust. Visit us at any of our Bonner or Boundary county locations: Bonners Ferry, Ponderay abd VA Clinic, Priest River, Sandpoint Pediatrics.

Information: Kaniksu Health Services, 208-263-7101

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