UW Health Eau Claire, Augusta Clinics Earn Awards for Patient Care

Madison, Wisconsin - The UW Health Family Medicine clinics in Eau Claire and Augusta have received national awards for their commitment to outstanding patient service.


The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving quality health care, has recognized both clinics for development of a patient-centered medical home, which emphasizes comprehensive primary care for children, youth and adults. 


The Eau Claire clinic at 617 W. Clairemont Ave. is the first medical facility in the community to receive recognition from the NCQA. The Augusta clinic at 207 W. Lincoln St. is 20 miles southeast of Eau Claire.


"The medical home model has the potential to offer better satisfaction to all of the health care team, while improving outcomes for the patient," said Dr. Dennis Breen, a family medicine physician at both clinics and associate professor of family medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "It also helps us to be more proactive and reduce unnecessary use of health care resources, which we hope will improve primary care reimbursements and reduce costs."


Breen, Dr. Richard McClaflin - also a family-medicine physician at the Eau Claire and Augusta clinics - and practice administrator Jerome Barton were instrumental in transforming both facilities into patient-centered medical homes. 


Dr. Sandy Kamnetz, the vice chair for clinical care in the Department of Family Medicine, says the efforts at the Eau Claire and Augusta clinics are at the forefront of a UW Health initiative to improve primary care.


"The department brought the medical home model to the attention of the UW Health Primary Care Redesign Committee a couple of years ago," she said. "Now everything the committee does aligns with medical-home standards."


According to Ramona Mathews, clinic quality coordinator, there has been increased emphasis on making sure patients see a specialist if they are referred to one by their primary-care physician.


"During the past year, the two clinics have worked hard at tracking all referrals, and making sure patients go to their appointments and receive the care they need," she said. "Patients receive phone calls from the clinic to follow up on their referral appointment and answer any questions they may have.


"Behind the scenes, the staff is also making sure the clinic receives a report from the specialist. This helps the primary-care physician treat the whole person and coordinate care."


Breen said efforts are continuing to elevate patient-care initiatives to even higher levels.  For example, staff at both clinics have been contacting patients in advance to prepare them for upcoming appointments.


"Pre-visit planning can be used to let the patient know if they need to fast before undergoing labs or to update medication lists," he said. "The goals of pre-visit planning are to eliminate extra trips to the clinic for the patient and to make the office visit more efficient."

Date Published: 05/31/2011

News tag(s):  awards

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