SAN DIEGO - Four Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) clinics have been awarded the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Level III certification, the highest recognition medical facilities can receive from the NCQA, for Medical Home Port (MHP).
Naval Branch Health Clinics (NBHC) Chula Vista, East County, Miramar and Naval Training Center (NTC) add to the existing two NMCSD clinics previously recognized (NBHC Kearny Mesa and NMCSD's Internal Medicine clinics, the first two clinics in the NMCSD enterprise to obtain Level III certification) for practicing MHPs at the highest level, according to Capt. (Dr.) Joe Aquilina, Director of Branch Clinics.
MHP is a standardized primary care team model that fosters the partnership between the patient, his or her primary care provider and their primary care team. Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to ensure patients get the right care at the right time. By streamlining the process of care, MHP is positioned to provide better access, continuity of care, wellness and disease management for patients.
NCQA certification for Medical Home Port is mandated by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) Instruction 6300.19, which states that "all Medical Home Port locations will attain recognition for Level I within four months of establishing a Medical Home Port clinic. Once achieving NCQA Level I recognition through a self-assessment, Medical Home Port clinics have an additional six months to achieve NCQA Level II recognition."
Aquilina shared his thoughts on the four clinics going above and beyond the NCQA's basic requirements to attain Level III status.
"In addition to their current duties delivering care, each member was able to educate staff, identify opportunities for process improvement, and document clinical practices," he explained.
NBHC Chula Vista staff did just that. The clinic's 12-month certification process began with NCQA training in January 2012. Following weekly reviews of clinic processes and standards and preliminary reviews by NMCSD and Navy Medicine leadership August through October, clinic leadership submitted 180 documents to NCQA in November 2012. Final results were posted Dec. 17, 2012, with the Chula Vista clinic scoring 99.25 out of 100 possible points, revealed the clinic's director, Cmdr. Faria Belmares, who added the review enhanced several of the clinic's health care processes, leading to improved patient experience and care.
NTC staff assembled a special team that met regularly in order to prepare the clinic's personnel for new processes and stringent documentation required by the NCQA.
"Our entire staff was involved in this effort that took nine months from start to finish. Once we implemented process improvements, we had to monitor them and pull data after several months to show proof that we were in fact improving the level of care provided to our patients," said Cmdr. (Dr.) Todd Lauby, NTC clinic director.
NCQA's recognition of these four clinics is a testament to their high degree of commitment to NMCSD's mission according to Aquilina.
"I couldn't be more proud.this could not have been possible without the determination of the clinic leadership and the dedication of our clinic staff," he said. "We are committed to providing the highest quality care available anywhere in San Diego or in the DoD.these most recent NCQA recognitions are an important part of that process."
Level III certification is valid for three years. NMCSD's six clinics are among 34 clinics in Navy Medicine West (NMW) and 66 in Navy Medicine to attain level III recognition for Medical Home Port. Seventeen more are expected to apply for Level III recognition this year, according to retired Navy Nurse Capt. Jane Hourigan, NMW director for healthcare operations.
For more information on Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd, www.facebook.com/nmcsd, or www.twitter.com/NMC_SD.