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Nursing care co-ordinators are key to the success of PCMH programs

Patient Centered Home (PCMH) programs include a team of primary care providers who manage patient care and oversee individual care plans. Their goals are to improve health outcomes, improve quality, and reduce costs. Medicare and private payers have adopted these programs to improve primary care provision.

George Mason University College of Health and Human Services led new research on providers' experiences with PCMH programs. To date, few projects have studied providers' experiences with these programs. Providers reported that nursing care co-ordinators (NCC) and individual care plans were key factors in improving the quality and delivery of healthcare.

Professor Associate Dr Gilbert Gimm led the study with CHHS colleagues, Dr. Thomas Gimm. Debora Goldberg Len Nichols and colleagues from Peterson in healthcare and Alan Newman Research. The study was published in April 2019 in the. T Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The research team held focus groups with 65 primary care doctors and telephone interviews with 14 doctors and two practice administrators in the PCF CareFirst program.

"The quality of primary care and effective care co-ordination is particularly important for adults with chronic conditions and complex needs for healthcare services," explained Gimm.

The researchers also found that some primary care providers have a skeptical view about CareFirst. Providers' concerns included one-way communication, lack of trust, and different priorities when selecting patients for individual care plans. For example, they did not consider the secure online data portal as a useful part of the program.

"PCMH's successful program based on payers depends on whether primary care providers believe the components are useful for improving quality of care," Dr Gimm noted. "Our study found that improved communication and trust between providers and payers is crucial to the success of these programs."

In 2019, as changes to Medicare payments come into force for doctors in delivery models such as the PCMH, policy makers and doctors will continue to increase interest in successful PCMH programs. The researchers suggest that there is a need for additional study of providers' experiences in other PCMH programs.


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