PCMH RecognitionIf you were planning to apply for PCMH recognition under the NCQA 2011 version, you need to know that the last day to purchase the 2011 Survey tool is June 30, 2014, and the last day to submit the 2011 Survey Tool is March 31, 2015.

Even if you haven’t decided which version to use, you may want to purchase the 2011 Survey Tool before the deadline runs out on June 30, 2014, in order to maintain the flexibility of choosing which recognition program—2011 or 2014—you want to be recognized for.

NCQA announced on March 24, 2014 that it was releasing the latest generation of NCQA patient-centered medical home standards, titled PCMH 2014. The standards, used by NCQA to assess primary care practices seeking NCQA PCMH Recognition, are the third iteration of the NCQA medical home program since 2008.

New Standards

In announcing the new standards, NCQA said that “PCMH 2014 retains strengths of earlier NCQA standards, including alignment with contemporary federal requirements for ‘meaningful use’ of health information technology—now Meaningful Use Stage 2.”

Changes in the advantages and requirements of the new NCQA PCMH Recognition include:

  • Integration of behavioral health –Practices are expected to collaborate with behavioral health care providers and to convey behavioral health care capabilities to patients.
  • Care management focus on high-need populations – Practices are expected to address socioeconomic drivers of health and poorly controlled or complex conditions. Practices should also focus on the special needs of patients referred from the “medical neighborhood” of practices that surround and inform the medical home.
  • Enhanced emphasis on team-based care – The new standards emphasize collaboration with patients as part of the care team and establish team-based care as a “must-pass” criterion for NCQA Recognition.
  • Alignment of improvement efforts with the triple aim – Practices must show that they are working to improve across all three components of the triple aim: patient experience, cost and clinical quality.
  • Sustained transformation – In keeping with the goal of continuous improvement, practices must show that they comply with NCQA standards over long periods.

Between March 24, 2014, and March 31, 2015, practices can submit either the PCMH 2011 Survey Tool or the new version’s survey tool. After March 31, 2015, only the new survey tool will be accepted. It is important to note that the most progressive software vendors may begin to support the new standard exclusively sometime later this year. We advise medical practices interested in PCMH to focus on using the 2014 standard beginning in the 4th quarter of 2014.

Whether you are submitting the 2011 Survey Tool or the PCMH 2014 survey tool, the best way to become recognized as an NCQA Medical Home is to use software that has been pre-validated and that is Meaningful Use Stage 2 certified. MediTouch is just one of a few vendors that meet these criteria.

PCMH Resources

See our free infographic, What is Patient-Centered Medical Home?

You can download the PCMH 2014 standards free of charge via the NCQA website.