Many aspects of our nation’s healthcare system continue to evolve, including: patient services, reimbursement models, quality improvement, medical education, and utilization of information technology designed to enhance data gathering and reporting. UAMS West is addressing this changing and challenging environment by implementing new clinical and practice management systems that allow us to better serve our patients, trainees, and other stakeholders. Specific efforts and accomplishments in these areas include, but are not limited to: 1) Recognition of UAMS West, in the Fall of 2012, by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level II Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and recognition in the Spring of 2013 as a Level III (the highest level) PCMH facility, 2) Application and acceptance into the CMS Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, 3) Participation in the Arkansas Health Care Payment initiative which emphasizes Episodes of Care wherein hospitals, primary care physicians, and specialists work together to improve patient health outcomes and reduce overall healthcare cost , 4) Increase in the number of residents in training from 28 to 30 through a HRSA Teaching Health Center Grant, 5) Continued recognition by the ACGME as a fully accredited program, and 6) through the hard work of all faculty, residents, and staff, UAMS West was named the Best AHEC of the Year for 2013, the second year in a row and the third time in the past five years.
In addition, UAMS West purchased and remodeled a 4,378 square foot clinical facility approximately one block from our primary medical/ training center in Fort Smith. This additional space has allowed UAMS West to expand its patient care services and assist in training the increased number of residents.UAMS West has purchased our main clinic facilities from Sparks Hospital and has plans in 2014-2015 to remodel those facilities and add approximately 10,000 square feet of clinical and education space.
UAMS West has continued to rebrand/market its program via television and radio spots, outdoor billboards, and web promotion. The focus of the efforts is to promote our quality medical services especially in the areas of family health care, obstetrics, chronic disease management, and preventive care. These promotion efforts also emphasizes that we are an integral part of UAMS.
We have also launched a Patient Portal for our patients to request appointments, send secure messages to their physician or nurse, and view their lab results online.This was created in an effort to improve patient satisfaction and speed communications between physician and patient. We are working with software developers now to launch a Spanish version of Patient Portal, as approximately 28% of our patients speak Spanish as a first language.
The UAMS West M*A*S*H program continues to be a popular and effective method to introduce youths to health care careers. M*A*S*H programs conducted this year at Sparks Hospital, Mercy Health System, and Summit Hospital provided 68 high school students with the opportunity to learn about careers in the health industry.
The UAMS West library provided services for over 3,000 patrons this past year. In addition to helping patrons secure needed resources, the library staff promoted UAMS off campus programs by proctoring 73 student exams and assisting with other student services.
During the year faculty, residents, and staff participated in community health fairs and student career days; provided medical education for churches, civic groups, and schools; and served on numerous community, state and hospital boards and committees.
We are optimistic about the coming year and our ability to improve the health care of our patients via chronic disease management, preventive care services, and utilizing PCMH concepts, while providing quality education to our residents and students.