Wheeler Receives Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation, Primary Care Medical Home Certification


PLAINVILLE, CT May 23, 2017 – Wheeler Clinic has received Ambulatory Health Care accreditation and Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) certification from the Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

Wheeler received the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation, a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

Wheeler is the only provider in Connecticut to be accredited by the Joint Commission (TJC) for behavioral health and as a behavioral health home (BHH). Wheeler is the only Connecticut provider that has attained the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for four distinct Accreditations and/or Certifications, including Behavioral Health Accreditation, Behavioral Health Home Certification, Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation, and Primary Care Medical Home Certification.

In attaining both BHH and PCMH certifications, Wheeler successfully demonstrated having services, systems, and processes in place which fully support the following components:

  • Patient-centered care – Relationship-based care focused on the whole person and understanding and respecting each patient’s needs, culture, values and preferences.
  • Comprehensive care – A team of providers, including physicians, advanced practice nurses, nurses, behavioral health workers, social workers, recovery specialist, and others, work to meet each patient’s physical and behavioral health care needs, including prevention and wellness, acute care and chronic care.
  • Coordinated care – Care is coordinated across the broader health care system, including specialty care, hospitals, home care and the provision of community and support services. This is particularly critical during transitions between sites of care, such as when patients are discharged from the hospital.
  • Superb access to care – Patients have access to services with shorter waiting times for urgent needs, enhanced in-person hours, around the clock telephone or electronic access to members of the care team, and alternative methods of communication.
  • Systems-based approach to quality and safety – The organization uses evidence-based medicine and clinical decision support tools, engages in performance measurement and improvement, measures and responds to patient experiences and satisfaction, practices population health management, and publicly shares robust quality and safety data and improvement activities.

Wheeler underwent a rigorous onsite survey in April, when a Joint Commission surveyor with expertise in ambulatory health care evaluated compliance with ambulatory care standards related to a variety of areas, including coordination of care, infection prevention and control, management of medications, and patient education and training. The review also assessed Wheeler’s compliance with standards related to how effectively the primary care clinician and the interdisciplinary team work in partnership with patients to provide comprehensive, coordinated and patient-centered care.

“More than 65 percent of our patients receive both medical and behavioral health services from us,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler. “Every day, we operate with an understanding that primary and behavioral health are interconnected, and everyone deserves safe, comprehensive, integrated coordinated care. This expansion of our national accreditation and certification reflects our longstanding commitment to safety, quality and a focus on whole-person health for the individuals, families and communities we serve.“ Wheeler has been accredited by the Joint Commission for behavioral health care for more than 20 years and received behavioral health home certification in 2016.

“Joint Commission accreditation provides ambulatory care organizations with the processes contributing to improvements in a variety of areas, from the enhancement of staff education to the demonstration of leading practices within the ambulatory setting. Ambulatory care organizations that pursue PCMH Certification from The Joint Commission are demonstrating the highest commitment to delivering quality primary care in the ambulatory setting,” said Michael Kulczycki, MBA, CAE, executive director, Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend Wheeler and its staff for achieving this pinnacle, demonstrating a commitment to patient safety and quality. Your passion, dedication and tenacity can ultimately improve patient care. Thank you for your commitment to patient safety and entrusting The Joint Commission to assist you.”

Established in 1975, The Joint Commission’s Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation Program encourages high-quality patient care in all types of freestanding ambulatory care facilities. The Joint Commission’s ambulatory health care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess, and improve performance. The Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation Program serves 2,100 ambulatory care providers, with more than 8,500 sites of care, which, in turn, serve more than 83 million patient visits annually.

Launched in July 2011, Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) certification for Joint Commission accredited ambulatory care organizations focuses on care coordination, access to care, and how effectively a primary care clinician and interdisciplinary team work in partnership with the patient and their family. The PCMH certification option is consistent with the new federal health care reform efforts to improve health outcomes and the continuity, quality and efficiency of health care services.

The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

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