Categorized | Health

Hawaii Island physicians embark on transformation


Starting this month, the Hawaii Island Beacon Community (HIBC) is implementing a physician practice redesign program to transform up to 30 independent Primary Care Physician practices into Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH).

Melinda Nugent, clinical program manager for HIBC, will lead the effort and collaborate with quality improvement coaches from the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii (NKFH). Other partners in the program include North Hawaii Community Hospital and the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA).

Practice transition to the PCMH model is tied to a new strategy for health care reimbursements. The program will use a curriculum developed by TransforMED, an American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) company.

“Introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1967, the PCMH model has become the national standard for primary care delivery,” said Susan B. Hunt, MHA, project director and CEO of HIBC.

“HIBC aims to help physicians fast-track the transformation of their primary care practices at no charge,” she said. “The PCMH includes the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and is designed to improve care quality and efficiency, help people take an active role in improving their own health and reduce costs in the long term.”

Each of the 30 Hawaii Island practices participating will receive, at no charge:

* A baseline practice assessment.
* A customized practice transformation plan.
* Access to 10 webinars that cover topics such as pre-visit planning, care coordination, and data recording and documentation.
* Admission to quarterly collaborative learning sessions with other participants.
* Recognition as a PCMH upon successful completion of the program.

Enrollment is on a first-come basis. As of April 23, spots are still available. Primary Care Physicians interested in signing up may contact Melinda Nugent at (808) 933-8559 or

“Practice redesign is an exciting new venture for NKFH, and we are proud to be a part of this partnership,” said Victoria Page, RN, BSN, director of community health initiatives for NKFH. “We are leveraging our expertise in patient advocacy and chronic disease prevention and treatment, and hiring and training practice coaches who will work with HIBC to facilitate the TransforMED activities within the physician’s office.”

The PCMH is an approach to providing comprehensive primary care for children, youth and adults. It facilitates partnerships between patients and their personal physicians.

PCMH Principles:

* Personal physician – Each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician trained to provide first contact, continuous and comprehensive care.

* Team-based care – The personal physician leads a team of individuals at the practice level who collectively take responsibility for the ongoing care of patients.

* Whole person orientation – The team is responsible for providing for all the patient’s health care needs and appropriately arranging care with other qualified professionals. This includes care for all stages of life: acute, chronic, preventive and end of life care.

* Coordinated and/or integrated services – Across the health care system: primary care, specialty care, hospitals, home health care and community services. Care is facilitated by registries, Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

* Accessible – Through expanded hours, open scheduling and new options for communication.

* Quality and safety – Through the use of evidence-based medicine, clinical decision support tools and active patient participation.

* Payment – Based on value, coordination, continuous improvement and use of technology.

“The physicians who will be participating in TransforMED’s program and working with us to adopt the PCMH model are true leaders in their field,” Nugent said. “As health care reform sweeps across the nation and our own state, our physicians right here on Hawaii Island will be models that others can look to.”

Nugent has more than 20 years of health care experience and was recently the interim physician practice director at North Hawaii Community Hospital, where she oversaw accreditation and practice optimization.

Previously, as executive director for Ohio-based corporation Marietta Health Care Systems, Inc., she led the expansion of the organization from six providers to more than 100 providers over 12 years and implemented numerous successful initiatives, including EHRs.

Since 2005, TransforMED, a nonprofit subsidiary of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), has served thousands of physicians, thereby touching the lives of more than 20 million patients. The curriculum being implemented by HIBC is a TransforMED program tailored for the needs of Hawaii Island physicians.

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