News

Jun 25, 2014

First Choice Recognized for Patient-Centeredness


The recognition honors the progress First Choice has made toward providing its patients with coordinated care, when they need it, with the patient as the center of a team of people working to improve their health.

Six of the eight First Choice Health Centers have been recognized so far, with one receiving Level 1 Recognition and the rest receiving the higher Level 2 Recognition. The highest is Level 3, which is First Choice’s goal for 2014.

First Choice has been adopting new systems and models of care to achieve the vision of patient-centered care where patients and their providers get to know one another and develop a healing relationship; and where care is coordinated so that the primary care team has the full picture and plans together with the patient how to maintain good health and avoid costly, fragmented care, duplication and delays.

Some of the major steps to establish patient-centered medical homes as recognized by the NCQA include:

  • Electronic Health Records – accessible to patients online and to other providers so that all are aware of a patient’s medical history, allergies, list of prescribed medications and so on.
  • Patient Care Facilitators – team members who co-develop health goals with the patients and providers and provide coaching and resources in-between patient visits and help patients address barriers that might otherwise take them off their track toward better health.
  • Same day access for established patients – a key aspect of patient-centeredness is being available when the patient needs care. Our health centers make every effort to provide same day appointments.

Many more changes are underway as First Choice continues on its path toward providing its 56,000 patients with a health care home. As we continue to accept new patients, enroll them in health coverage options, and build a team to meet their needs, we welcome their feedback.  Listening to our patients and responding to community needs is engrained in our DNA as a Community Health Center (CHC). CHCs ensure that the patients’ experience is a top priority by appointing consumers to a board of directors. More than 50% of our board members are patients or clients of our medical, dental, behavioral health or WIC (Women, Infants and Children) programs.