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Posts made in September, 2009

IHA Honors PAMF as “Top Performer” for Sixth Year

The Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) has named the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) as one of the most outstanding physician groups in California based on its Pay-for-Performance (P4P) program measures.

In overall performance, PAMF ranked as a “top performer” and is listed in the top 20 percent of physician groups, based on the statewide P4P program measures. IHA’s P4P program is the largest physician incentive program in theUnited States. It assesses physician groups based on objective measures that include clinical quality measures (e.g., cancer screenings, immunizations, diabetes care), patient satisfaction measures (timely access to care, doctor-patient communication, etc.), and use of health information technology (including supporting clinical decision making and use of systems to ensure patients received evidence-based care).

“This past year was one of tremendous change for the physicians that make up the Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group. This was the first year that the three historical medical groups that make up PAFMG – Camino Medical Group, the Palo Alto Medical Clinic and the Santa Cruz Medical Clinic – submitted performance data as a single unified organization,” said Philip Brosterhous, M.D., chief medical officer. “The fact that we continue to be in the top 20 percent of California physician groups based on state-wide Pay for Performance program measures is a tremendous honor and confirmation of the excellence and quality of our physicians and our organization.”

The California P4P program is in its sixth year. One or all of PAMF’s historic medical groups have been on the winners list every year since the program began. PAMF is one of five affiliated Sutter Health medical groups, including Mills-Peninsula Medical Group its counterpart in Sutter’s Peninsula Coastal Region, named by the IHA as top performers this year.

On the whole, P4P initiatives give medical groups the opportunity to demonstrate how well they do caring for their patients, and prompt them to examine how they can continue to do better. Patients benefit from this scrutiny and continual improvement. In addition, the 2008 measurement year results are used by seven health plans –Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, CIGNA HealthCare of California, Health Net of California, Western Health Advantage, and United Healthcare – to calculate incentive payments for distribution to physician groups in 2009.

Results for the clinical, patient experience, and IT measures are available at the IHA Web site: www.iha.org. Scores for each participating physician group reflecting 2009 performance on P4P measures are posted on the California Office of Patient Advocate website, http://www.opa.ca.gov/.

Grant to Help Patients Share in Health Care Decisions

Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making Funds Sites around the Country

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recently received a grant from the Boston-based Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making. PAMF, a multispecialty medical group in the San Francisco Bay Area, will serve as the clinical site and PAMFRI and UCSF will coordinate the research aspect of the project.

PAMF Research Institute is on the Palo Alto Center campus.

The one-year, $200,000 grant will fund efforts at PAMF to explore the best ways to use innovative audio-visual decision aids, such as DVDs, to improve the ability of patients to partner with their physicians to make complex medical decisions. PAMF is one of a number of demonstration sites across the country that are part of a national effort by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making to make patients full participants in their own health care decisions.

“We are pleased to be working with health care organizations such as PAMF, PAMFRI and UCSF who are committed to changing the face of health care by inviting patients to play an active role, working with their providers, in deciding what care is best for them,” said Michael Barry, M.D., president of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.

Each year, the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making funds organizations it believes have the greatest commitment to patient-centered care and the infrastructure to make decision aids part of daily medical practice. The decision aids, co-produced with Health Dialog and created with the assistance of world-class medical experts in a variety of specialties, consist of booklets and DVDs that thoroughly examine a patient’s treatment options and include real patients discussing their choices. Each demonstration site incorporates the decision aids into the physician/patient relationship in its own way to foster what is now known as a “Shared Medical Decision Making” process.

“We are very excited about this funding,” said Harold Luft, Ph.D., director of PAMFRI. “It will allow us to begin building a system that enhances the information we give our patients and their ability to participate fully in their own health care.”

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