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Family medicine clinics receive national recognition

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JOHNSON CITY (June 1, 2015) – East Tennessee State University’s three family medicine clinics, operated by the Quillen College of Medicine, have received national recognition for their efforts as patient-centered medical homes. The facilities are located in Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, Tenn.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality, recently certified all three family medicine residency clinics as Level 3 NCQA Patient Centered Medical Homes, the highest level attainable.

The patient-centered medical home is a way of organizing primary care that emphasizes care coordination and communication to transform primary care into a team-based approach among healthcare providers that remains focused on quality and safety.

Dr. John Franko, chair of ETSU’s Department of Family Medicine, said the patient-centered model focuses on providing “the very best patient experience.”

“We are on a journey to be patient centered and this recognition is one part of that journey,” Franko said. “We want to provide superior patient care because the patients really are the center of everything we do.”

The certification recognizes a facility’s efforts to become more patient centered. Previously, the trio of ETSU facilities were certified at a Level 1.

In certifying clinics, the NCQA looks at workflows, policies and procedures at a facility. The organization also evaluates how the practice interacts with patients while at the office as well as the clinic’s communication with patients between visits.

“This is a significant step forward for our programs,” Franko said. “The clinical team has done a great job establishing patient-centered workflows and protocols and completed the rigorous application in a timely manner.”

Franko credited Lori Francis, clinical services coordinator; Dr. Doug Rose, the previous director of clinical services for the department; and Dr. Patricia Conner, associate program director at Bristol Family Medicine, with leading the years-long effort to earn top NCQA recognition.

NCQA certification lasts three years.

“We are already working toward the next certification,” Franko said. “It is a constant process of improvement.”

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