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UF CARES earns top Medical Home recognition from national group

Published: March 5, 2012 By: Dalia Mousa and Matt Galnor

The University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES) is the first HIV program in the state to receive an elite Medical Home recognition from a national health care quality agency.

UF CARES received Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The Patient-Centered Medical Home model is a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between individual patients and their personal physicians and, when appropriate, the patient’s family.

Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

Level 3 is the highest level of recognition and requires clinics or practices to, among other requirements, demonstrate how they organize care around patients and coordinate and track patient care over time.

"Highest quality of service to our patients, be it in patient care or research is the goal of the UF CARES team," said Mobeen H. Rathore, M.B.B.S. (M.D.), a pediatrics professor for the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville and director of UF CARES. "Our focus is always outstanding patient satisfaction but even more important is excellent outcomes. This honor is the recognition of UF CARES team's commitment to this basic philosophy."

UF CARES is the first clinic in the UF&Shands system to earn Level 3 recognition, though UF and Shands Jacksonville primary care centers have a similar recognition.

The team includes clinicians, support staff, nurses, medical case managers, peer navigators, a nutritionist, a psychologist, and research coordinators.

"The NCQA recognition affirms what our mission and goals have been all along; to provide the most caring, comprehensive and patient focused care to our patients and their families," said Ayesha Mirza, M.D., as assistant professor of pediatrics and medical director of UF CARES.

UF CARES is the largest and most comprehensive HIV program in north Florida, and is the only program in the region serving individuals of all ages, including pregnant women. In addition to basic medical care, the center offers medical case management, nutrition services, mental health screening and treatment, health education and risk reduction, adherence counseling, HIV testing, prenatal care coordination, outreach, family planning, specialty gynecologic care, referral services, and access to clinical trials.

"The biggest impact on our program through this process has been a uniting of all of our health care team members and engaging them in the process of ensuring we are providing the highest quality of patient care to our patients," said Melissa Scites, executive director of UF CARES. "Everyone has taken ownership in how they can do their part to improve our patients’ overall quality of life."


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