National Honor for Team Approach

Article Date: Jan 20, 2011
Media Contact: Jodi Hoatson
(402) 343-4514

(OMAHA, NE) – Experts call the Patient-Centered Medical Home™ model of care the future of health care in America and Alegent Health has received national recognition for excelling at this important kind or care. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) granted Alegent Health Clinic’s medical home program the highest Level 3 recognition – after the Clinic scored 95.25 out of a possible 100 points.

"We are so proud of our program and how it’s improving the lives of our patients," said Lewis Eirinberg, M.D., family medicine physician at Alegent Health Clinic at 144th and Eagle Run. "Alegent Health has been working to develop this high-quality, coordinated care process for over a year and we are excited that our program has received some the highest marks in the country."

For Larry and Dot Engelhardt scores and recognition are second to results. Before the medical home program, Dot says that Larry "was retired and a couch potato." Add to that type 2 diabetes, heart disease and extra weight and you can see why Dot was so concerned about her husband of 58 years. Dr. Eirinberg introduced them to Alegent’s patient-centered medical home care and everything changed – for the better. Larry has lost 55 pounds and no longer needs insulin or one of his heart medications.

"I’ve got my husband back," said Dot. "We’re not just sitting at home taking a pill, we’re being proactive. We’re doing something to stay healthy as we age."

What is Patient-Centered Medical Home?
The Patient-Centered Medical Home builds a partnership between patients and their primary care physicians - and when appropriate - the patient’s family. A clinician-led care team provides for all the patient’s health care needs and coordinates treatments across the system. Early results are promising, showing an improving quality of care and the potential to lower health care costs by increasing access to more efficient, coordinated care. By avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits, these early results can produce savings for patients.

Alegent Health Clinic has been testing the medical home model at its Eagle Run clinic under the direction of Dr. Eirinberg. He and fellow primary care physician, Mark Andersen, M.D., are the only physicians in the state who are NCQA certified in both medical home and diabetes care. They are joined in the clinic by Christopher Connolly, M.D. and Lynnette Moseman, M.D.

"We picked three different disease processes that we really wanted to focus on and track data on - diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia," explained Dr. Eirinberg. "A proactive stance on those chronic
illnesses will hopefully lead to fewer hospitalizations and fewer medications so their disease process is under better control."

Four primary care physicians and three physician assistants at Eagle Run are using group visits to help those patients who have been diagnosed with one of these chronic illnesses. The groups are made up of 6-10 patients. Also present are dieticians, physical therapists and pharmacists, The visits consist of a regular medical office visit in a group setting and includes sharing of their lab and other results – such as weight, BMI and blood pressure. "The patients see that they are not alone in their disease process," said Dr. Eirinberg. "They get encouragement from the other patients and support from their medical team that allows that to better manage and improve their own health."

The medical home program features care coordinators, physician assistants and certified medical assistants working together with a primary care physician and other specialists as needed to provide each patient with the individual care that they need.

"The clinic is made up of four teamlets – each physician-led – that meets every morning to go over the day’s schedule. They look at preventive care opportunities, labs that need to be done and any other services that will be needed during the visit," said Dr. Eirinberg. "We also decide at that time if our patients will be meeting with our nurse coordinators."

"The patient-centered medical home promises to improve health and health care," said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. "The active, ongoing relationship between a patient and a clinician in medical homes fosters an all-too-rare goal in care: staying healthy and preventing illness in the first place. Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) Recognition shows that Alegent Health Clinic has tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care at the right time."

Alegent Health Clinic
Alegent Health Clinic is the physician group practice of Alegent Health, the largest faith-based health care system in Nebraska and southwest Iowa. A growing multi-specialty network of more than 180 highly skilled medical providers, Alegent Health Clinic offers primary and specialty care at 44 locations; quick access to immediate, non-emergent care at two Express Care and six convenient Quick Care locations. To find an Alegent Health Clinic location or to make an appointment, visit us online at www.alegent.com or 1-800-ALEGENT (800-253-4368).

About the National Committee for Quality Assurance
NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers, and researchers.


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Related Links
A Team Approach

National Committee for Quality Assurance

Alegent Health Clinic on 144th and Eagle Run