What’s Next for PCMH?
A new set of standards will be coming out in 2017 and are expected to be released this fall. 7 NCQA is working towards offering virtual reviews, said Proctor. “Going forward, the application process will take place by webinar where practice will show how they’re meeting certain requirements using their software. Right now, practices have to document how they’re meeting requirements with screenshots and other documentation, which can be very time-consuming,” he said. “This change will make the process considerably less intensive in terms of documentation.”
Practices can apply using the new standards starting March 31, 2017. “It is my recommendation that if practices don’t have any existing PCMH recognition and are considering getting recognition within the next year, they should use the 2014 standards and not wait to use the upcoming 2017 standards,” said Proctor. “While using 2014 standards will require more documentation, one benefit of using 2014 standards is that practices can attain recognition for a three-year period. With 2017 standards, recognition is only for one-year with annual reporting requirements in order to sustain recognition.”
“Meaningful Use nearing its end for Medicare practices may bring considerable changes to 2017 PCMH requirements as well. “Historically, Meaningful Use requirements have been fully embedded in PCMH standards, with NCQA continuing reporting requirements that have since been phased out of the Meaningful Use program,” said Proctor. “It will be interesting to see if NCQA updates its standards to remove some of the legacy Meaningful Use requirements.”
The application process can also be difficult to navigate. Practices that are getting ready to re-apply, like Hershey Pediatrics, are hoping NCQA will provide more clarity for 2017. “I would hope that the language they’re using is a little clearer so it’s easier for practices to understand what they’re looking for,” said Spangler. “The way NCQA worded questions made it hard to decipher what they were looking for. We would have been totally lost if we hadn’t hired a consultant to help us navigate the process.”