If walking into the Kids First offices feels a little like coming home, that’s by design. From the front desk to the nurses to the practitioners, the staff at Kids First have always strived to create a warm and welcoming practice. It’s a warmth that makes kids more comfortable and doctor visits more pleasant.
As of January 2014, we are pleased to have become certified officially as a Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of 21st century primary care that combines access, teamwork and technology to deliver quality care and improve health,” says NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “NCQA’s PCMH 2011 Recognition shows that Kids First Pediatric Partners has tools, systems and resources to provide patients with the right care at the right time.”
In practice, this means we have a team approach to providing medical care for children. Each child within the Kids First practice selects a primary care physician, who works together with a Kids First nurse. By seeing the same care team at every well visit and by speaking to them over the phone regarding important issues, the providers will know children’s health history, concerns and needs. In addition, providers can understand children’s strengths, develop a care plan with parents and children when needed and respect and honor every family’s culture and traditions.
Practice Administrator Anita McCray, who, along with Nurse Manager Rebecca Allison, led the certification efforts, says that the need to create the medical home was obvious because of the rapid growth within the practice. Although Kids First has provided very good care and a high standard of excellence, this care team model has not been in place up until now. “It makes all the difference in the world to have a care team rather than someone just looking in a chart and seeing what the last nurse wrote. This is the individualized personal care we deliver.”
Children who come annually for well visits, consistently see the same providers. This way, a child’s medical history is better tracked because the same set of eyes is watching. Nurses know each child intimately so she is able to sense patterns or issues and then she can answer questions and make decisions as someone who sees everything that the parent is seeing. Children who come through practice see the same providers as they grow, making them feel more comfortable sharing.
“We are also hoping to see less fall out with well visits as children grow older,” says Anita, “We’re trying to create a feeling of connection so that families will bring their children back each year, and we can monitor their growth.”
Kids First is one of the first pediatric practices in the area to obtain NCQA certification. As Anita says, “We’re ahead of the curve, and that’s the way that we like to be. I have no doubt that other practices will be following, though.”