Grace Cottage Family Health Earns National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

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PCMH Award

Grace Cottage Family Health of Townshend, VT, has received Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This certifies that Grace Cottage’s Rural Health Clinic has achieved the highest level of evidence-based, patient-centered, coordinated care.

The NCQA PCMH model of primary care combines teamwork and information technology to improve access, communication and patient involvement, and to reduce costs. Medical homes use systematic, patient-centered, coordinated care to foster ongoing partnerships between patient and provider, rather than approaching medical care as a series of episodic office visits.

Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

In PCMHs, primary care providers oversee a team of professionals who can help with everything from patient and family education, to mental health care, to self-management support, to follow-up calls to answer questions and help ensure that necessary resources are in place. The primary care provider also oversees referrals to specialists and care by providers in multiple settings. This team approach helps to ensure that patients have better access to services across the health care system.

“At the core of each patient’s care is the provider-nurse team who together evaluate, educate and initiate any necessary treatment. As a Patient-Centered Medical Home, we can expand on that medical care and offer additional, coordinated services with other Grace Cottage professional staff,” says Grace Cottage Family Health Medical Director Dr. Timothy Shafer. “That might mean bringing in a health coach, a physical therapist, a mental health counselor, or a financial assistant. All members of a patient’s team have access to a confidential ‘Shared Care Plan,’ which allows primary care provider oversight, and coordinated efforts to help patients achieve optimum health.”

This NCQA Level 3 recognition is valid for three years. In order to receive it, Grace Cottage Family Health had to demonstrate the ability to meet the NCQA’s program standards, which are aligned with the joint principles of the PCMH established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of healthcare organizations. See the NCQA web site ( for more information.