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13 specialty health care organizations endorse joint principles of PCMH

More than a dozen specialty health care organizations today joined the four major primary care physicians professional groups to endorse the seven-point Joint Principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).

The PCMH offers the benefits of a personal physician with a whole-person orientation who accepts overall responsibility for the care of the patient and leads a team that provides enhanced access to care, improved coordinated and integrated care, and increased efforts to ensure safety and quality.

The Joint Principles describe the characteristics of a practice-based care model for providing comprehensive primary care for children, youth and adults in a health-care setting. The PCMH facilitates partnerships between individual patients and their personal physicians and when appropriate the patients family.

The announcement of the endorsements was made today at a Stakeholders Meeting of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC), a group dedicated to promoting the establishment of the Joint Principles. In addition to physicians and medical students, PCPCCs membership consists of national employers and their associations, health care quality advocacy groups, academic centers, and consumer advocacy groups in supporting the PCMH.

The Joint Principles were released in March 2007 by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), which together represent some 333,000 physicians. The pediatricians, family physicians, internists and osteopathic physicians represented by the four organizations provide the vast majority of primary care services to children, adolescent and adult patients in the United States.

The PCPCC received reports today from its various Collaborative Centers on their work and their goals for future development. Included was a report on the continuing establishment of PCMH demonstration projects throughout the country in both private and public sectors.

The Joint Principles define key characteristics of the PCMH:

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

  • Physician directed medical practice 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 personal physician is responsible for providing for all the patients health care needs or taking responsibility for appropriately arranging care with other qualified professionals. This includes care fro all stages of life; acute care; chronic care; preventive services; and end of life care.

Care is coordinated and/or integrated across all elements of the complex health care system (e.g., subspecialty care, hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes) and the patients community (e.g., family, public and private community-based services). Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

The Joint Principles state that quality and safety are hallmarks of the PCMH. The statement features eight sub-points highlighting specific responsibilities, education, decision making, technology, participation and other necessary elements to improve quality and safety.

The Joint Principles also spell out a proposed payment framework for the PCMH. This framework would reflect the value of physician care management work that falls outside of a face-to-face visit. It would pay for services associated with coordination of care, support adoption and use of health information technology for quality improvement and support provision of enhanced communication access. It would also recognize the value of physician work associated with remote monitoring of clinical data using technology, allow for separate fee-for-service payments for face-to-face visits, and recognize case mix differences in the patient population being treated within the practice.

The 13 organization newly endorsing the Joint Principles are:

  • The American Academy of Chest Physicians
  • The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • The American Academy of Neurology
  • The American College of Cardiology
  • The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
  • The American College of Osteopathic Internists
  • The American Geriatrics Society
  • The American Medical Directors Association
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • The Society for Adolescent Medicine
  • The Society of Critical Care Medicine
  • The Society of General Internal Medicine


Contact: David B. Kinsman
American College of Physicians

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