Wednesday, May 17, 2023
For the seventh year in a row, the UT Health Physicians Primary Care Center has been recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Only practices that have proven their commitment to a patient-centered approach to care and continuous quality improvement can earn this designation.
“The NCQA’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition program is the most widely adopted PCMH evaluation program in the country. Research shows that PCMHs improve quality and the patient experience as well as increasing staff satisfaction, while reducing health care costs,” said Ramon Cancino, MD, MBA, MS, FAAFP, executive director of the Primary Care Center at UT Health Physicians. “Our patients can expect our primary care practice teams to be focused on their individual health needs and apply the best evidence-based care practices.”
“This model of care considers the whole patient,” said Richel Avery, MD, medical director at UT Health Verde Hills. “As a patient-centered medical home, our practices deliver physical and behavioral health care and take into account the patient’s family members, caregivers, cultural preferences as well as their socioeconomic situation.”
All UT Health San Antonio’s primary care locations were awarded the Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition in 2022, including our newest location, UT Health De Zavala.
“In February 2022, UT Health San Antonio opened UT Health De Zavala and is proud to have this location join our other practices in this designation,” said Cynthia Cantu, DO, medical director at UT Health De Zavala. “The PCMH model of care exemplifies how clinicians treat their patients. Our providers deliver the best care while also making sure patients are well-informed of their conditions and together with the clinician decide on the most appropriate plan. Patients can feel comfortable knowing their primary care physician is always looking out for them.”
A Focus on Coordinated Care
A key component of the patient-centered medical home model is care coordination, which ensures that primary and specialty care clinicians effectively share information and manage patient referrals to minimize cost, confusion and unnecessary care.
“Coordinated care means identifying healthcare services a patient needs outside the walls of the primary care home and following through to ensure they happen. This can include referrals to specialists, accessing transportation to medical appointments, having an appointment after a critical event like hospital admission, and assistance with accessing and affording important medications,” said Jessica Blower, MD, UT Health Westover Hills medical director.
This means when patients visit UT Health San Antonio’s primary care physicians, they have a team of health care professionals working together to prevent problems and manage chronic conditions. The team can include many other clinicians, including care managers, community health workers, medical specialists, nurses, physical therapists, nurse educators, pharmacists, psychologists and occupational therapists. Each member of the UT Health San Antonio team has access to the same electronic health record, which improves the speed and accuracy of care team decisions, especially when dealing with complex medical cases.
Research shows that patient-centered medical homes reduce patients’ avoidable emergency room visits and hospitalizations because they provide easier access for receiving quality, reliable care. They also ensure people, regardless of location or income, can receive the health care they need.
Access to Care
Access to care is an important component of the PCMH designation. Our primary care practice emphasizes the use of MyChart and after-hours appointment availability to provide reliable access to care when and where patients need it. With MyChart patients have secure, twenty-four-seven access to their medical information.
“We have multiple avenues to ensure patients can get the help they need. All our locations offer same-day and next-day appointments for urgent needs. These visits can be done in-person or virtually depending on the need. Our patients can send medical questions to their primary care home via MyChart and can even schedule themselves for appointments via MyChart Direct Scheduling,” shared Cancino.
Committed to a higher standard of care
UT Health Physicians’ Patient-Centered Medical Home designation provides current and future patients assurance that they are receiving the best possible primary care.
“We are committed to reaching the very high standards that being a PCMH requires. We continually strive to exceed the standards to have the best health outcomes and patient care experience,” said Blower.
Request an appointment at any of our NCQA-recognized primary care locations.
Learn more about UT Health’s Patient-Centered Medical Home designation.
David Cadena is a board-certified family physician and an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Cadena was born and raised in San Antonio, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree at St. Mary’s University and then graduated from UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine. During his UT Health San Antonio Family Medicine Residency, Dr. Cadena was selected as Chief Resident in his final year. He has completed and presented a number of quality improvement projects at local and state meetings. Dr. Cadena has special interests in mental health and office-based procedures.
Dr. Jessica Blower has been seeing patients at UT Health Physicians Westover Hills since August of 2015. In addition to helping her patients, she enjoys teaching and mentoring medical students as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UT Health San Antonio. Her clinical interests include women’s health, pediatric and adolescent medicine, preventive health care, acute and chronic disease management and office procedures. She strongly believes that optimal healthcare is delivered through an evolving partnership between patient and their physician, and she supports the values of a patient-centered medical home.
Dr. Blower is originally from Phoenix, Arizona where she graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology with a focus on Behavioral Neuroscience research. She graduated from medical school at the University of Arizona and then completed her residency in Family and Community Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. During residency, she earned several awards including Chief Resident, Research Scholar, and Resident of the Year. Her research interests include women’s preventive health and using yoga for improving health.
Dr. Cancino obtained his medical degree at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He completed his family medicine residency training at Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education and completed an Academic Family Medicine fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine. He also received a master of science degree in health services research from Boston University School of Public Health. Prior to coming to UT Health – San Antonio, Dr. Cancino was Chief Medical Officer of a federally-qualified health center in Boston, Massachusetts. As a family medicine physician, Dr. Cancino enjoys taking care of patients of all ages.
Dr. Cynthia L. Cantu is a first-generation physician whose passion for the South Texas community is seen through her dedication to primary care. Her interests in medicine include chronic disease management, nutrition and disease prevention by delivering care through a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. She has led and participated in multiple quality improvement research projects to improve delivery of vaccinations, increase awareness and education of obstructive lung diseases and among others. Dr. Cantu has been awarded presentations in various conferences nationwide.
Dr. Cantu completed her undergrad with honors at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she obtained bachelor’s degrees in Arts and Science. She completed medical school at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth and internal medicine residency at the University of Texas Health San Antonio. Throughout her career, Dr. Cantu has been involved deeply in the community through various volunteer projects including Habitat for Humanity and mentoring students from underserved communities interested in health professions. Dr. Cantu was also elected by peers in residency to represent over 800 residents for two consecutive years to work directly with Graduate Medical Education office, Designated Institutional Officer (DIO) and hospital leadership to work on projects of concern among the residents’ clinical learning environment.