Reduce your risk of illness and hospitalization with a medical home

Shaylee Peckens, MD, and Karen Pitzpatrick, MD, of the Department of Family Medicine, discuss WVU Medicine’s patient-centered medical home and the benefits for you.

What is a patient-centered medical home?
It’s not a building or a place. It’s a different approach to primary care. A medical home provides personalized care when you need it. Your primary care doctor gets to know you and the big picture of your health, including your goals and preferences. Your doctor can evaluate new symptoms, diagnose and treat most health conditions, and provide good preventive care to help you stay healthy. Your doctor works closely with a medical home office team that includes nurses, pharmacists, and other trained staff to address all kinds of health needs. The team is available to give you information and support for healthy lifestyle changes or managing health conditions. 

How is a medical home different from a regular doctor’s office?
A medical home allows you to have more ways to talk to your doctor about your concerns or questions regarding your medications, diet, and health goals. You have greater access to care and medical advice with same day appointments, extended hours, and telephone advice. Our medical home providers are specially trained to give you reliable care and support, to share more information to help you make personalized healthcare decisions. WVU Medicine’s primary care medical homes are continuously measuring our patient outcomes and working as a team to improve quality and service. Our offices are adding more appointment options and expanding the team to include nurse case managers, wellness nurses, and pharmacists. The Clark Sleeth Family Medicine Center at the University Town Centre is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Level 3 Patient-centered Medical Home.

Does a healthy person need a medical home?
Access to quality preventive care and a trusted primary care provider improves your health, reduces your chances of hospitalization, and lowers your total cost of care. Our primary care providers evaluate your health risks and recommend proactive strategies to prevent illness before it happens. Some harmful conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol may have no symptoms. If you do get sick, our medical home gives you quick access to care with a doctor/clinician who knows you. We’ll also help you find the right specialist to focus on a specific disease if needed, interpret information and results from specialists, and customize a treatment plan just for you. An annual preventive visit with your primary care doctor/clinician is covered in full by most insurance providers.

What other benefits does a medical home offer?
At each appointment and between appointments, your doctor and medical home team will work hard to insure you receive the best possible care. We’ll help you stay up to date on health screenings and vaccinations you might need. The pharmacists on your team can give you a consultation to help you understand how to take any medications. If you have complex health problems or have been hospitalized, a nurse case manager can provide personalized support and coordination of care with your doctor and other care providers.   

Sign up for MyWVUChart, our secure, online patient portal, to communicate with your medical home, make appointments, view test results, get prescription refills, and more: mywvuchart.com.