Responding to the demand for more coordinated care for geriatric patients, the Center for Healthy Senior Living at Hackensack University Medical Center announced Friday it had been given the highest level of certification as a patient-centered medical home.
The center was accredited at Level 3, the highest level given by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
Andy Reynolds, spokesman for the committee, said practices like the Center for Healthy Senior Living have met the highest standards for providing coordinated care through teamwork and technology.
“It’s one of the most popular reforms or innovations in primary care today,” Reynolds said. “In a lot of ways people at the beginning of life and end of life benefit the most (from the PCMH model) … children and seniors tend to have the most health problems, and they have the highest need for preventive care.”
Under the PCMH initiative, doctors are paid fees for coordinating comprehensive care, and have the opportunity to earn more money if the program demonstrates better patient outcomes and more efficient care — a departure from the current fee-for-service model.
Dr. Morey Menacker, managing partner of Forest Healthcare Associates, which is one of the PCMH practices within the Center for Healthy Senior Living, said the organization also functions as a patient advocate, monitoring medications and preventative care.
“Primary care has undergone an enormous amount of change over the years,” Menacker said. “A lot of doctors basically felt that their job was to refer people to the right specialist, and that was their only responsibility.”
Menacker said the PCMH model puts the responsibility of monitoring patient health on the practice at all times, not just when the patient is in the office. The certification looked at the ways the practice monitors its patients, not the actual results because, “if the patient and the doctor are in partnership in attempting to create the best possible scenario, then the results will come by themselves.”
“As the patients age, especially into the geriatric age group, the costs skyrocket,” Menacker said, particularly in terms of drug costs, medical equipment purchases and home visits. “The patient-centered medical home that works on a geriatric level will function as the patient advocate under those circumstances, and make sure all of the services the person needs are available to minimize critical situations where people end up getting rushed to the hospital.”