Family Medicine Clinic Earns National Recognition

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Few people think of a health care facility where they go to see their physician as a 'home,' but that's exactly the kind of environment Dr. Jonathan Ballard, medical director for the University of Kentucky's Family and Community Medicine (FCM) Clinic, and a team of health care providers strive to give every patient that walks through the clinic doors. Their efforts to make the care and comfort of every patient, from the beginning of life through the golden years a priority, has earned UK Family and Community Medicine the national recognition of being a 'Patient Centered Medical Home.'

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced recently that UK Family and Community Medicine has received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients' experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient's care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

"NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "Recognition shows that the University of Kentucky Family & Community Medicine has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time."

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, the practice demonstrated the ability to meet the program's key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

The UK Family and Community Medicine is a primary care clinic recently relocated to the UK HealthCare Turfland location on Harrodsburg Road. The pristine new space, roughly the size of two football fields, provides ample free parking, is easy to navigate.

The clinic employs faculty physicians, resident physicians, nurses, psychologists, and patient care coordinators who are divided up into teams. Each patient is assigned to a team, led by a personal clinician, that follows them in all aspects of their care throughout their life. The staff are trained to assist with insurance, referrals, and other issues within the health care system that can often be difficult for patients to navigate.

"The system as a whole works to function more efficiently to streamline care and provide a more positive experience for the patient which is first and foremost in everything we do," Ballard said.

Arnold and Earlene Cool from Lancaster, Kentucky, became patients because they followed their physician, Dr. Ginny Gottschalk, from her Danville practice to Lexington, and their bond with the doctor has only intensified since that time because of their positive experience with her and UK Family and Community Medicine.

Initially, Arnold Cool accompanied his sister to an appointment at the clinic and Gottschalk came out to the waiting room to say hello.

"She is a wonderful, caring doctor and I was really touched that she took the time to come out and speak to me," Cool said. "The facility is gorgeous and the care and efficiency of the staff is outstanding. There are no long lines and we don't have to wait long to be seen. We're very impressed with the clinic."

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu