This was successfully posted to your pofile.
This box will close automatically in a few seconds. Close this window
We don't have an e-mail address on file for you. To use AAFP Connection, you must have an e-mail address in our records. Click Here
Dysfunctional System Leads One Family Physician to Transform His Practice
PCMH Transformation Saves Colorado Physician's Career
By Sheri Porter • Lakewood, Colo.
The day the house is completed, the family moves in and maintenance begins.
The same can be said when a family physician decides it is time to build a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) practice. Just ask Tracy Hofeditz, M.D., who, together with his partner FP Kristin Everett, M.D.; a full-time nurse practitioner; and a cadre of staff members, manages the health care of some 3,100 patients at Belmar Family Medicine here.
Facing the Problem
- In 2005 Tracy Hofeditz, M.D., was so discouraged about the way he was practicing family medicine that he nearly gave up his career.
- Instead, Hofeditz decided to move his practice to a new location and begin the hard work of practice transformation.
- In 2008, the National Committee for Quality Assurance awarded Belmar Family Medicine level three patient-centered medical home recognition.
- Hofeditz says his practice is taking better care of patients and is more financially sound than ever before.
"I knew then that I wasn't the only one who recognized that there was a problem with the way primary care was delivered in the United States," says Hofeditz.
He was torn between feeling responsible for the well-being of his patients and knowing his own self-preservation was at risk. "I felt like the driver of a car headed for a cliff; I had a chance to get out of the car, but my patients didn't. That's when I decided to be part of the solution."
Leaving the 50-provider primary care group with which he'd been affiliated and setting up an independent practice in a new location was a big decision for Hofeditz. "Moving the practice had psychosocial importance to me," he says. "It indicated breaking away from the past and establishing a new direction for a new future."
In addition, Hofeditz knew instinctively that he would need the managerial freedom to make big decisions about the necessary practice changes that lay ahead.
The work involved in building a PCMH is not to be taken lightly, Hofeditz cautions. "This cannot be accomplished over the course of a long weekend. Becoming a patient-centered medical home begins with a couple of years of attitudinal and cultural adaptation."
Publication of the AAFP's Joint Principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home in 2007 was a starting point for Hofeditz's conversion. "Once the PCMH was defined by the joint principles in 2007, we were off and running," he says. That blueprint was further defined by the 2008 standards for PCMH recognition developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Although April 30, 2012, marked the end of that pilot, it was not the end of Hofeditz's passion for the patient-centered medical home model of care.
"My practice thrives in this model. I've done better financially in the last three years than ever before, and I can prove to anybody that my practice provides better care, too," he says.
That's important because too many physicians believe that the burden of practice transformation -- and most certainly the lack of adequate payment -- makes the PCMH model unattainable, according to Hofeditz.
But he says, "I'm putting the energy into it because I want a brighter future for my practice and my patients."
Best of all, notes Hofeditz, "Delivering patient-centered care has rekindled the joy of practicing family medicine."
Editor's Note: Come back next week for part two of this series and learn how Belmar Family Medicine went about making the practice changes that enabled it to become one of the first primary care practices in Colorado to earn patient-centered medical home recognition.
Bringing Patients, Families Into the PCMH Critical to the Model's Success
PCPCC Meeting Focuses on Mutual Engagement
More From AAFP
Patient-Centered Medical Home