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News > 31st MDG implements new PCMH care program
31st MDG implements new PCMH care program

Posted 8/15/2011   Updated 8/16/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Katherine Windish
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/15/2011 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Aviano's 31st Medical Group will implement its new Patient Centered Medical Home care program Sept. 1.

The PCMH care program is a new, Air Force-wide patient care concept. It will focus on enhancing patient care through more effective communication, team-based care and education.

The Air Force Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Charles B. Green visited Aviano at the beginning of the year to familiarize the 31st MDG staff with the initiative. He said the initiative's purpose is to reduce the number of patients assigned to each Air Force provider. Patients often see different doctor's every time they have an appointment, which can be frustrating for the patient as well as the doctor, he said.

"This is, like every other endeavor, an attempt to make a difference," said Green in an address to 31st MDG leadership. "We're attempting to change our practices from reactive to proactive. By becoming proactive, you're taking care of your patient and building a relationship with them in a way they never expected. This develops trust."

The new "patient-centered care" approach considers patients' cultural traditions, personal preferences and values, family situations and lifestyles. It is driven towards ensuring the patient has a say in his or her own care, rather than being the passive recipient of care, according to 31st MDG officials.

The program also ensures that transitions between healthcare providers, a common occurrence in military treatment facilities due to deployments and changes of station, are easier and more efficient for both patient and doctor.

Medical group officials have stated that it is their intent that the PCMH program will accomplish two major goals: creating a healthy population through active patient involvement and continuity of care and to create an enjoyable and productive healthcare environment that enables the healthcare team to deliver trusted care.

Patients will be assigned to a PCMH team that consists of a primary care provider, nurse and medical support team.

The initiative is being implemented in response to the 2008 Caring for People survey in which people voiced concerns about difficulty getting appointments, limited access to medical care in some areas and trouble accessing medical records.

Results show that Air Force treatment facilities that implemented the program in 2008 have seen improvements in continuity of care, disease management and increased patient satisfaction.

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