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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

NCQA Medical Home Standards Incorporate Behavioral Health Integration

March 27, 2014 | Integrated Care | Comments
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Late on Monday, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released its updated 2014 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) standards, including heightened standards for behavioral health integration and collaboration with mental health and substance use providers. NCQA recognizes more than 7,000 practices as PCMHs.

The revised standards “establish team-based care as a ‘must-pass’ criterion for NCQA Recognition.” As a component of care management for high-need patients, the standards also require that recognized PCMHs “address socioeconomic drivers of health and poorly controlled or complex conditions,” as well as “focus on the special needs of patients referred from the ‘medical neighborhood’ of practices that surround and inform the medical home,” NCQA notes.

As highlighted in a release, the 2014 standards also include:

  • Behavioral health integration – The 2014 standards include heightened expectations, NCQA says, that recognized practices support patients’ behavioral health, including via collaboration with “behavioral health care providers and [communication of] behavioral health care capabilities to patients.”
  • Triple aim alignment – Standards require that practices demonstrate “they are working to improve across all three domains of the triple aim: patient experience, cost and clinical quality.
  • Sustained improvement – NCQA notes that “in keeping with the goal of continuous improvement, practices show that they comply with NCQA standards over long periods.”

The 2014 standards are available for complimentary download here (see 2014 PCMH Standards and Guidelines). NCQA is hosting a webinar on the updated standards at 2:00 p.m. ET on April 23, 2014, registration for which is available here.