Submitted by: Holly Gartmayer-DeYoung and Diana Graettinger
EASTPORT, Maine — Focusing on patients is the primary goal of the Eastport Health Center and now EHC is pleased to announce that it has received statewide and national recognition for its efforts.
The health center recently was selected to be a part of the Maine Quality Counts Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot, a group focused on overall patient-centered health care. To reach its goal, EHC had to receive a national Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) credential, which it did.
EHC is the first primary-care facility in all of Washington County and one of 50 practices across the state selected for phase two of the pilot. The pilot includes a learning community of health centers around the state that are transforming their practices to be patient centered.
EHC providers and staff worked hard to achieve their goal and in December of last year it reached Level Two Recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
What does this mean for patients?
“The pilot offers a unique opportunity to shift the focus of health-care delivery from acute episodic care to prevention and coordinated integrated care,” Holly Gartmayer-DeYoung, EHC’s chief executive officer said recently. “The PCMH model reflects the efforts of a team of health professionals and support staff who will work directly with the patient to establish healthier choices to improve their health.”
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is a model of what is hoped to be the best and most efficient ways to deliver primary care to area patients. The medical home encompasses five characteristics: comprehensive care, patient centered, coordinated care, accessible services, quality and safety. The Maine Quality Counts PCMH pilot includes 10 core expectations EHC and 74 other participating health centers are expected to achieve in the next 24 months:
1. Demonstrated leadership: Dr. Laurie Churchill, EHC medical director in Eastport and Dr. Cyndi Sammis, a physician in Machias and their respective staff are leading the Patient -Centered Medical Home activities in their respective offices
2. Team-based approach to care: EHC plans to redesign its primary-care practice and use non-provider support to enhance preventive integrated care. The teams are meeting weekly to reach their goals.
3. Population risk stratification and management: Using data collected over the past year, the health center staff will focus on providing special support to its most vulnerable and sick patients.
PCMH Pilot Announcement (Article) Page 2
4. Practice-integrated care management: EHC plans to work with the staff at the Aroostook
Mental Health Center in Caribou to provide care-management services that will focus on
patients with the highest healthcare needs.
5. Enhanced access to care: EHC plans to schedule same-day appointments in an attempt to
ensure same-day access to providers or the PCMH team.
6. Behavioral-physical health integration: EHC has created an integrated team management
approach that will focus on the primary care and behavior health care needs of its patients. The
various EHC medical teams meet each day during team huddles.
7. Inclusion of patients & families in implementation of PCMH model: Patient Advisory
Committees (PAC) has been established in both Eastport and Machias. The PAC meets about
every 6 weeks.
8. Connection to community resources and social support services: EHC plans to expand current
partnerships and build new ones to facilitate managing referrals using local community
resources. EHC also will partner with local social support services to facilitate care-coordination
and self-management support to individuals and their families to help them better
understand their diseases and to meet health and wellness goals.
9. Commitment to reducing unnecessary healthcare spending, reducing waste and
improving cost-effective use of healthcare services: EHC is focused on
actions to contain medical costs and to work closely with the Down East Community
Hospital in Machias and the Calais Regional Hospital to coordinate Transitions of Care.
10. Integration of health information technology (HIT): EHC uses an electronic medical record and
is a member of HealthInfo Net which ensures that EHC providers have access to current patient
information regardless of where the patients have been in the health-care delivery system.
EHC believes in the future of quality health care in Down East, Maine.
And the health center is pleased to be in in the vanguard in Washington County when it comes to
comprehensive and exceptional health care. “We are excited to be part of the Maine Quality Counts
Patient Centered Medical Home Pilot and will provide feedback regarding our progress in transforming
care delivery,” Gartmayer DeYoung said.
Theresa Brown, EHC’s chief operations quality improvement officer, is leading the project for the health
center. You may contact her at email@example.com or at 853-6001 for more information about