The Department of Family Medicine in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has received accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its St. Francis and Tipton locations. The NCQA program is the most widely-recognized health care accreditation program in the United States.
“The NCQA seal is a widely recognized symbol of quality,” said Tiffany Wright, director of Quality and Compliance for University Clinical Health. “Organizations incorporating the seal into advertising and marketing materials must first pass a rigorous, comprehensive review and must annually report on their performance.”
NCQA accreditation provides a comprehensive evaluation and is the only evaluation that assesses a practice on clinical performance as well as the patient experience. “The accreditation is significant to the department, as this model of care aids in better health outcomes for the patients we serve,” said Nakita Anthony, director of Operations for University Clinical Health. “It is also significant to the departments, as the NCQA seal is highly recognized, and signifies the department’s commitment to quality improvement and patient-centered care. “
“This achievement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing high-quality care for our patients, said Muneeza Khan, MD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at UTHSC. “It also reflects the hard work our team has put in to enhance population-based care and ultimately improve health outcomes through better coordination and integration of patient care. Our patient-centered approach emphasizes health care delivery by primary care physicians who are health care champions. We are very excited about this achievement.”
Accreditation entails a long, rigorous review of clinical and administrative process and policies. NCQA reviewed the department on the following standards of care: 1) patient-centered access, 2) team-based care, 3) population health management, 4) care management and support, 5) care coordination and care transition, 6) performance measurement and quality improvement. Each of the six standards are anchored by various elements outlining NCQA’s expectations and best practice recommendations in being a patient-centered medical home. The goal is for clinical practices to embrace and implement best practices with a team-based approach to patient care, inclusive of administrative and clinical support, the clinician, and most importantly, the patient.
“The pursuit of the accreditation required the department to transform its practice model, resulting in new policy development, more patient engagement, and workflow enhancements,” Anthony said.
NCQA accreditation will allow the department to pursue grant opportunities it would not ordinally be eligible to pursue prior to accreditation. The accreditation will provide name recognition within the health care community as a trailblazer in quality improvement, clinical best practice, and patient health outcome, in addition to enhanced revenue by way of grants and/or incentive payments from insurance payers.
The accreditation must be renewed in three years.