Yale Health earned a perfect score in a recent nonprofit study for its services as a patient-centered medical service.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance — a private nonprofit that evaluates health organizations against standards of quality — awarded Yale Health the highest possible marks in the category of “patient-centered medical home,” or PCMH. It was the first time Yale Health received the rating — the category had not existed until this year for NCQA’s rankings, and only 147 organizations nationwide were awarded top marks this year. The majority of students interviewed said they were pleased with their experiences at Yale Health, though some said the services could be improved.
“We’re really excited about [the ratings],” Michael Rigsby, Yale Health’s medical director, said. “It’s a validation to our approach to providing medical care.”
The NCQA’s evaluation looked at health care institutions across six categories focusing on how well they maintain relationships with their patients.
Director of Yale Health Paul Genecin said the ratings are the result of the hard work of the whole staff, which moved into its new building at 55 Lock St. before the beginning of the 2010-’11 academic year. He added that the main focus of the medical home is primary care that creates a strong relationship with the patient and the clinician.
“The active, ongoing relationship between a patient and a physician in medical homes fosters an all-too-rare goal in care: staying healthy and preventing illness in the first place,” NCQA president Margaret O’Kane said. “The PCMH recognition shows that Yale Health has the tools, systems and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time.”
In achieving its high rating, Yale Health underwent improvements such as establishing more efficient connections between patients and clinicians, Genecin said.
He added that in spite of the high ratings, the center could always do more, stressing that it is very difficult to improve on areas that are not measured, such as the percentage of women who have had preventive services. He said that some of their future changes will include easier access to medical records and more efficient phone practices.
Rigsby said that center also plans to improve its outreach to freshmen — as many feel overwhelmed with information and have never managed their own health care — and the department’s consistency of care.
“One of the challenges that we face is being consistent,” Rigsby said. “There are many instances when things happen really well. But we get new members, and vacations and sickness makes it hard to do it consistently.”
Ten out of 14 students interviewed said they were satisfied with the services they experienced at Yale Health.
Joel Li ’15 said he had an appointment Wednesday to see a doctor about his cough, and though an X-ray examination prolonged his visit, he was pleased with his experience.
But four of 14 students said they did not believe Yale Health’s services deserved a perfect ranking.
Katie Chockley ’14, a member of the track and cross country teams, said she regularly has blood drawn to check her iron levels. After going into Yale Health for a procedure, Chockley said, she never received a call back confirming her results.
“I called Yale Health, and they said they had no record of me getting my blood drawn,” said Chockley.
About two weeks later, she said, she had to have blood drawn again, and discovered that her iron was significantly lower than the recommended level for athletes.
Yale Health is open only to the Yale community and serves more than 40,000 patients.