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Montefiore in the News

June 12, 2018

 Primary Care Doctors Outpace National Quality Care Standards

NEW YORK (June 12, 2018) Bronx and Westchester residents are more satisfied with their primary care visits, and are waiting less time to see their doctors than ever before. The accolades are tied to a new designation from the National Committee on Quality Assurance, which has certified Montefiore Medical Group practices as level 3 patient centered medical homes. This is one of the nation’s highest designations for primary care quality, patient satisfaction and convenience. 

“Too often, primary care is seen as an episodic medical visit, meaning a patient will only come in when he or she is sick, but we have a different approach,” said Sybil Hodgson, M.D., regional director, Montefiore Medical Group. “Our goal is to provide full health and wellness resources to our patients. This includes building relationships and getting a sense of barriers that could impede access to consistent healthcare.”        

Montefiore’s quest to surpass national care standards begins with teams of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and administrative staff working together to identify gaps in patient flow and areas for improvement. They review “real-time” data to see how staff can be most productive, and bring in patient advisors so all perspectives are reflected in improvements.

“They take each patient’s care personally,” said Paula Gonzalez, Bronx resident and founder of Miss Gunday’s Foundation, a local nonprofit organization. Gonzalez, who goes to Montefiore for her care, and for the care of her five children says, “You go in, you get undivided attention –and you truly feel taken care of.”

Gonzalez emphasizes that the care is outstanding, but providers are also focused on improving experiences in the waiting area as well. Over time, Gonzalez was delighted to see a new waiting room for children, like her son, who is autistic, and is sensitive to noise. While speaking with a nurse, she observed that the seats are even more comfortable. But most important of all, there is an average 10 percent reduction in arrival to departure from appointments. In some centers that is a savings of 40 minutes.

The population Montefiore Medical Group serves is one of the most diverse and socioeconomically vulnerable in the country. In 2017, there were approximately 900,000 patient visits.

“We’re addressing challenges unique to our community in new ways,” said Namita Azad, MPH, MS, transformation manager, Montefiore. “We have onsite psychologists to see kids during their regular pediatric visits, and social workers are available for our adult patients, making access to the right care team easier. This strategy creates care teams that can manage associated stigmas and enables us to diagnose and treat conditions like depression and anxiety earlier, so we are improving the quality of care we provide.”

Montefiore also screens for social determinants of health, like housing, access to healthy food, and employment. Looking at the “whole patient” helps doctors establish thorough care plans, and adds insights into patients’ medical records.

“Last year, we began to screen our patients for stress from inconsistent access to food and housing, said Asif Ansari, M.D., regional director, Montefiore Medical Group. “Now, if we know if a patient with diabetes does not have regular access to a refrigerator, we’ll talk more about different medication and storage options, rather than just prescribing insulin, which needs to be kept cool. It is about caring for each person and knowing what’s going on in their life. That requires more than just access to a healthcare provider.”

<>This attention to detail, has led to significant improvements in vaccination rates, including a 21 percent improvement in HPV vaccinations and a 9 percent increase in vaccines that can help prevent pneumonia.

Montefiore Medical Group primary and specialty care sites which celebrated 50 years of primary care transformation in 2017, are located throughout the Bronx and Westchester. Each offers onsite laboratory services and extended business hours.

The National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) is a national driver in improving healthcare in our country. More than 12,000 practices have a level of recognition by the NCQA, with only a select group achieving PCMH level 3 designations.