rural care

Penn Highlands Physician Network Recognized

Award Given by National Rural Accountable Care Consortium

The Penn Highlands Physician Network was recognized by the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium for Exemplary Performance in Health Care Transformation.

The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium is a non-profit organization that is a part of Medicare that works to facilitate innovative healthcare ideas that provide quality care. The ideas should be cost-effective and promote health to improve the well-being of community health systems.

The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium worked with over 2,700 practices nationwide from 2015-19 to encourage practice-transformation efforts which led to better patient care, increased practice financial performance and reduced health care costs.

PHPN is among approximately 15 percent of enrolled practices that have achieved this designation after submitting data on its annual wellness completion rates and its quality scores. The scores look at the number of patients who make positive steps toward good health by having, for example, colonoscopies, low-dose CT lung cancers screenings and pneumonia vaccinations. PHPN was selected for this award based on its:

  • Engagement in the program;
  • Improved quality performance on at least one health outcome measure (diabetes, depression risk screening or hypertension control);
  • A high score on the Practice Assessment Tool, or PAT, used to determine a practice’s transformation progress;
  • Patient and family engagement efforts that may include use of surveys, use of shared decision making with patients or use of Advance Care Planning, among others.

The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium congratulated its Exemplary Practices by publishing their names in its weekly newsletter on the company’s LinkedIn page. It also reported its data to Medicare.

“As a rural healthcare system, often times the quality of care we provide is overlooked. Unfortunately, many individuals believe that in order to get quality care they must travel to large academic centers,” Megan Bussard, PharmD, Director of Value Based Healthcare Operations for Penn Highlands Healthcare, said. “This NRACC recognition shows that even as a rural system, we can provide the best quality of care. Our outpatient clinics take great pride in quality metrics, and this acknowledgement reinstates their dedication.”

“One of our greatest prides is our Medicare Annual Wellness (AWV) completion rates,” Bussard added.

“Multiple outside entities have given PHPN accolades for having the highest AWV completion rate that they’ve ever seen. As healthcare continues to move towards value and cost-effective care, we will continue to position ourselves for success.”