News Release

Jonesboro clinic receives quality assurance recognition


Max Greenwood @ 501-378-2131

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 4, 2013) — The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Family Practice in Jonesboro has received recognition for using technology to improve the quality of patient care as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH). The clinic was one of five practices in the PCMH Pilot Project sponsored by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The AHEC Family Practice in Jonesboro received level-two recognition by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA). The NCQA Physician Practice Connections® (PPC) program recognizes practices that use systematic processes and information technology to enhance the quality of patient care. Recognition is based on meeting specific elements in categories such as: access and communication; patient tracking and registry functions; care management; patient self-management and support; electronic prescribing; test tracking; referral tracking; performance reporting and improvement; and advanced electronic communication. Recognition depends on overall scoring and compliance with all 10 required elements.

Scott Dickson, M.D., of the AHEC Family Practice said, “I am extremely proud of our staff and physicians for going beyond the call of duty to achieve this level of patient care.”

The PCMH Pilot Project showed promising preliminary results with:

  • Lower 30-day readmission rate
  • Fewer emergency room visits and emergency room related costs
  • Improved emergency room utilization
  • Increased prescribing of generic drugs

“The clinics in the pilot excelled beyond what we had hoped,” said Alicia Berkemeyer, director of Enterprise Networks Special Projects for Arkansas Blue Cross. “Achieving formal recognition by the NCQA is well-deserved.”

The success of the two-year pilot was instrumental in Arkansas being chosen for one of seven national four-year health care initiatives through the Comprehensive Primary Care initiative (CPC), sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Innovation Center. The CPC initiative is funding the transformation of 65 primary care practices into patient-centered medical homes (including four of the pilot practices). This funding is estimated to be more than $50 million for the Medicare beneficiaries. Arkansas Blue Cross, QualChoice, Arkansas Medicaid and Humana are working together to support the initiative.

Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,700 employees. If combined, the 38 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans collectively provide health care coverage for 93 million Americans.

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