Message From the Board Chair

Changing Landscape Heralds Transition for TransforMED

December 19, 2014 01:03 pm Reid Blackwelder, M.D.

As 2014 draws to a close, it's a good time to reflect on the many accomplishments of the year, including the continuing recognition of the value of primary care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. We've come a long way since the Future of Family Medicine report(www.annfammed.org) put us on this path 10 years ago.

AAFP Board Chair Reid Blackwelder, M.D.

TransforMED(www.transformed.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of the AAFP, grew out of that report. Since its establishment in 2006, TransforMED has guided the transformation efforts of nearly 700 primary care practices, incorporated PCMH elements in 46 federally qualified health centers and supported organizational change in 34 residency programs. During this eight-year effort to support the PCMH model of care, TransforMED has touched the lives of more than 25 million patients and influenced more than 12,000 health care professionals.

TransforMED has been at the forefront of the PCMH movement, beginning with a two-year, nationwide proof-of-concept project that involved 36 family medicine practices and launched in 2006. TransforMED has continued to help shape important conversations with diverse stakeholders -- including physicians, patients, insurance plans, and state and local governments -- since then through its involvement in national health care pilot projects. It also has created products and services along the way to help family physicians adapt to this model.

Here is a look at some of the organization's accomplishments:

  • The national demonstration project (NDP) ended May 31, 2008, with 31 of 36 practices successfully completing the two-year endeavor.
  • In December 2008, TransforMED introduced its first line of products and services, including medical home facilitation and practice assessments.
  • The May/June 2009 Annals of Family Medicine published a report(www.annfammed.org) titled "Initial Lessons from the First National Demonstration Project on Practice Transformation to a Patient-Centered Medical Home." The article offered six early lessons from the NDP and four recommendations for practices attempting PCMH transformation.
  • In August 2009, Delta-Exchange(www.delta-exchange.net) launched as an online learning and professional social networking site for primary care physicians, non-physician clinicians and office staff. More than 10,000 health care professionals have reaped the website's benefits.
  • In May 2010, TransforMED launched its Small Practice Package program(www.transformed.com), which bundled together the necessary tools and components to streamline the transformation process, enabling practices with four or fewer physicians to implement the PCMH model in two years.
  • In June 2012, TransforMED was awarded a $20.75M Health Care Innovation Challenge Grant by CMS' Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. The project focuses is on supporting care coordination among PCMHs, specialty practices and hospitals.
  • Later in 2012, TransforMED was selected as a partner in the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative(innovation.cms.gov).

TransforMED's efforts have been instrumental in shaping the PCMH model into what it is today -- a health care standard that is widely accepted by physicians and payers alike. In fact, in a 2013 AAFP survey, more than 25 percent of Academy members reported working in a practice that had achieved PCMH recognition, and 10 percent worked in practices that had applications for PCMH recognition pending.

However, with the proliferation of the PCMH model, the market niche in which TransforMED thrived has changed, and future growth opportunities have become limited. In the new year, the AAFP will work to redefine the focus of TransforMED with an eye toward how the Academy can best meet its members' continuing needs for practice transformation support. As part of this process, the Academy will seek to incorporate and maximize existing TransforMED products and services.

The AAFP and TransforMED will work together to ensure the successful completion of all of the organization's contracted work, as well as a smooth and strategically focused transition. Any changes will be phased in over time, and we will keep you informed as this process evolves.

Although it's important to look back and review what we have learned and accomplished, we also must determine the best path forward to support family physicians seeking to adopt the PCMH model.

Reid Blackwelder, M.D., is Board chair of the AAFP.


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