WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that the group of physician practices affiliated with Forsyth Medical Center (FMC) has attained a perfect quality score in the fifth year of a nationwide Physician Group Practice (PGP) project designed to demonstrate that improving quality through the coordination of care can help lower costs. The FMC group includes 120 physician practices throughout the Triad that are part of the Novant Medical Group (NMG) and one of only 10 physician practice groups across the country to participate in the project.
Physician practice groups selected for the project focused on quality measures to improve overall care for patients with diabetes, heart failure, coronary artery disease and hypertension, as well as measures to improve preventive care. The FMC group of practices attained 53 of the 53 possible quality points in the fifth year of the demonstration project.
According to Nan Holland, Novant Medical Group's senior director for clinical excellence, the FMC group of practices has been a leader in quality scores for all five years of the project and has achieved 96-100 percent of all quality measures each year of the demonstration. Additionally, the group was consistently the lowest-cost provider among all participating groups.
"The goal of the five-year project was to improve the quality of the care while demonstrating our ability to generate real cost savings in serving our Medicare patients," Holland says. "While the CMS project focus was on Medicare patients, the experience we have gained can be applied to all patients throughout the Novant Health system."
Holland says that participating in this project has elevated Forsyth Medical Center and the NMG practices to the national stage and allowed NMG the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most forward-thinking physician practice groups from around the country.
"This collaboration allowed us to share our best practices and learn from each other how to better deliver high-quality, efficient and coordinated care to our patients," she says. "During this project we focused on two key areas - teaching patients to take an active role in managing their conditions and improving the coordination of care at the practice and community level so we deliver the right care to the right patients in the most efficient setting."
Holland says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 sets our provisions for the PGP demonstration to continue its work to address sustainability of care coordination, disease management and cost containment programs coming out of the initial demonstration.
All ten of the physician groups will continue to participate in the new PGP Transition Demonstration, a two-year supplement to the original PGP Demonstration.
"We plan to continue our work with CMS over the next two years to help define the role of accountable care in addressing quality, cost and overall care," she says.
The other physician group practices participating in the project include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic (N.H.), Billings Clinic (Mont.), Everett Clinic (Wash.), Geisinger Health System (Pa.), Middlesex Health Clinic (Conn.), Marshfield Clinic (Wis.), University of Michigan Family Group Practice (Mich.), Park Nicollet Health Services (Minn.) and St. John's Health System (Mo.).