01:40 AM

Children's Mercy West recertified, makes dramatic improvements in asthma treatment

Children's Mercy West, the Cordell Meeks Jr. Clinic is celebrating its recertification as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

Level 3 is the highest recognition for a medical group. CM West received its first three-year Certificate of Recognition as a Level 3 facility from the NCQA in 2012. The current recertification earned a perfect score and was led by a core team composed of: Amy Belton, RN, MSN, MBA, CPN, Nursing Program Coordinator, Medical Home; Edy Heydinger, APRN, MSN, CPNP; Lorraine Brewer, DO, FAAP, Medical Director of CM West; and Kaye Bell, RN, MSN, MBA, CPN, Director of CM West.

The Level 3 medical home care that CM West patients receive is based upon the use of systematic, patient-centered, coordinated care management processes. The staff began implementing these processes prior to their first recognition and has implemented these practices into what is now part of everyday patient care.

CM West began participating in the REACH Foundation-sponsored medical home initiative prior to its first recognition, and continued to receive education and support from the REACH Foundation and through use of a consultant at Quails Health.

CM West provides patient-centered care for about 8,000 children and adolescents in the Kansas City, Kansas area. The goal of patient-centered care is to focus on education and patient outreach. The team-based care approach employed at CM West is proactive and specifically targets improving patient outcomes for preventive care, weight management and asthma.

"We are proud of what we do," Amy said. "We are now looking at ways to continue to improve patient experience and outcomes and ways to expand our Medical Home with a Medical Neighborhood by integrating behavioral health, dental and other specialties into our practice."

Asthma Control

Asthmatics are a high-risk population of patients in Kansas City. A hallmark of CM West is the clinic's mentality for active asthma management: assess and educate "every visit, every time."

An Asthma Control Test (ACT) allows the health-care team to evaluate how well each patient's asthma is under control, which helps guide patient education, offer asthma follow-up appointments, and provide outreach to patients who call for medication refills.

In 2012, only 23 percent of CM West patients with asthma had updated Asthma Control Test scores. To manage these patients, the CM West clinic has modified processes to enable providers, respiratory therapists, and clinic staff to collaborate in asthma patient care. The results of these efforts are a 53 percent increase in the number of patients with updated ACT scores; more than three-quarters of the asthma patients at CM West now have updated ACT scores.

Flu vaccine outreach

With the dramatic improvement in the ACT score compliance and accuracy, the clinic was able to target this population as high-risk for complications during influenza season and conduct outreach to encourage the flu vaccine. Since the beginning of this asthma-patient-flu-vaccine outreach program, an additional 25 percent CM West asthma patients received the flu vaccine. These overall clinic-level efforts have led to a 5 percent reduction in costly emergency department use by CM West asthma patients for asthma-related reasons.

"A medical home is not about the award but about how well we care for the patients at Children's Mercy West," said Dr. Brewer. "Every employee at Children's Mercy West has come together to make this work. I am proud of our facility and I look forward to continuing this mission as we work toward our next recertification."