Transforming Primary Care in the New Orleans Safety-net The Patient Experience

*Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies †Department of Family & Community Medicine University of California ‡San Francisco Department of Public Health Office of Quality Management, San Francisco, CA.
Medical care (Impact Factor: 3.23). 12/2012; 51(2). DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318277eac0
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND:: The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a key service delivery innovation in health reform. However, there are growing questions about whether the changes in clinics promoted by the PCMH model lead to improvements in the patient experience. OBJECTIVE:: To test the hypothesis that PCMH improvements in safety-net primary care clinics are associated with a more positive patient experience. RESEARCH DESIGN:: Multilevel cross-sectional analysis of patients nested within the primary care clinics that serve them. SUBJECTS:: Primary care clinic leaders and patients throughout the City of New Orleans health care safety-net. MEASURES:: Dependent variables included patient ratings of accessibility, coordination, and confidence in the quality/safety of care. The key independent variable was a score measuring PCMH structural and process improvements at the clinic level. RESULTS:: Approximately two thirds of patients in New Orleans gave positive ratings to their clinics on access and quality/safety, but only one third did for care coordination. In all but the largest clinics, patient experiences of care coordination were positively associated with the clinic's use of PCMH structural and process changes. Results for patient ratings of access and quality/safety were mixed. CONCLUSIONS:: Among primary care clinics in the New Orleans safety-net, use of more PCMH improvements at the clinic level led to more positive patient rating of care coordination, but not of accessibility or confidence in quality/safety. Ongoing efforts to pilot, demonstrate, implement, and evaluate the PCMH should consider how the impact of medical practice transformation could vary across different aspects of the patient experience.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: We sought to compare and contrast patterns of change toward patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) in 5 New Orleans primary care safety net clinics in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We assessed the general direction of change in practice to discover possible reasons for differences in patterns of change, and to identify impediments to change. Methods: Data collection consisted of 5 semiannual telephone interviews with clinic leadership over 2.5 years supplemented by administrative audits. We used standard survey indexes of PCMH to monitor practice change. We conducted site visits and unstructured in-person interviews with clinicians and staff of the 5 clinics. Results: PCMH index scores improved during the observation period with variations in rates of change and initial levels of PCMH. Qualitative analysis suggested possible explanations for this differential success: (1) early vs later starts in practice change, (2) funding based on patient outcomes, (3) demands that compete with practice change, (4) qualities of clinic leadership, and (5) relations with the communities where patients live. Barriers to practice change included high demand for services, deficient linkages between hospital and specialty care, lack of staff resources, and a need to focus on clinic finances. Conclusions: The PCMH model can successfully address the needs of safety net populations. Stable leadership committed to serving safety net patients via the PCMH model is important for successful practice transformation. Beyond clinic walls, cultivating deep ties to the communities that clinics serve also supports the PCMH model.
    No preview · Article · May 2013 · The Annals of Family Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the health care infrastructure in and around New Orleans in 2005. We describe a natural experiment that occurred afterward, amid efforts to rebuild the city's health care system, in which diverse safety-net clinics were transformed into medical homes. Using surveys of clinic leaders and administrative data, we found that clinics made substantial progress in implementing new clinical processes to improve access, quality and safety, and care coordination and integration. But there was wide variation, with some clinics making only minimal progress. Because the transformation was closely tied to the receipt of federal grants and bonus payments, we observed declines in performance toward the end of the study, when clinics faced diminished federal funding and refocused their priorities on survival. Now that federal funds have dried up, moreover, clinics may be losing ground in sustaining their practice changes. The experience shows that payment to support medical home transformation must be robust and stable, and clinics need to be fully integrated into the broader health care system to improve overall coordination of care.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Health Affairs
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    ABSTRACT: Health disparities in minority populations are well recognized. Hispanics and Latinos constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the United States; a significant proportion receives their care via a safety net. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus and comorbid depression is high among this group, but the uptake of evidence-based collaborative depression care management has been suboptimal. The study design and baseline characteristics of the enrolled sample in the Diabetes-Depression Care-management Adoption Trial (DCAT) establishes a quasi-experimental comparative effectiveness research clinical trial aimed at accelerating the adoption of collaborative depression care in safety net clinics. Conducted in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services at eight county-operated clinics. DCAT has enrolled 1,406 low-income, predominantly Hispanic/Latino patients with diabetes to test a translational model of depression care management. This three-group study compares usual care with a collaborative care team support model and a technology-facilitated depression care model that provides automated telephonic depression screening and monitoring tailored to patient conditions and preferences. Call results are integrated into a diabetes disease management registry that delivers provider notifications, generates tasks, and issues critical alerts. All subjects receive comprehensive assessments at baseline, 6, 12, and 18months by independent English-Spanish bilingual interviewers. Study outcomes include depression outcomes, treatment adherence, satisfaction, acceptance of assessment and monitoring technology, social and economic stress reduction, diabetes self-care management, health care utilization, and care management model cost and cost-effectiveness comparisons. DCAT's goal is to optimize depression screening, treatment, follow-up, outcomes, and cost savings to reduce health disparities.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Contemporary clinical trials
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