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Yesterday I visited the Queens-Long Island Medical Group office in Flushing, NY. The office is the first NCQA-accredited patient centered medical home in the US. Flushing is a colorful, bustling community; 70% of community residents are Asian. Despite the swine flu outbreak, the office was quiet and calm as it was on my first visit last month but extra providers had been brought in and doctors were seeing 30 patients each that day. I was there to take pictures for an upcoming CT Health Policy Project briefing next month on the medical home concept. The office looks just like any other medical practice, but it runs very differently than most. As the Chief Medical Affairs Officer described it, “everything swirls around the patient.” Patients go to exam rooms and all the services and providers they need come to them. Everything is organized for their visit the day before, making sure that test results are ready and any services they need are there for them; patients receive a reminder call the day before. Many tests can be done on site allowing decisions about treatment to be made during the visit, rather than having to contact the patient later. Providers work in teams of doctors, nurses and medical assistants. Everyone works at the top of their training and there is enormous respect across the staff. The office relies heavily on their electronic medical record system to ensure that anyone treating the patient has all the information they need and no one else does. Both a behavioral health specialist and dietician are on staff and the practice holds regular diabetes self-management groups. There is an enrollment center off the lobby to screen and enroll any patient eligible for public programs; appointments are not necessary. Regular patient satisfaction surveys show high ratings that have risen continuously since they began the medical home transition. The practice is also more efficient than before the transition, running on a well-organized team model. It’s a very impressive model; we all deserve a medical home. See slides from my visit
Ellen Andrews