This blog post was written by our guest blogger Karen Joncas, Coordinator of Healthcare Transformation at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) and the RMS Healthcare Division.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) opened its public comment period on new standards for ambulatory care clinics expected to be released in March 2015. The new NCQA program, tentatively named Patient-Centered Connected Care (PCCC), will assess sites that deliver care in a nontraditional practice. Eligible entities include telemedicine providers, worksite clinics, urgent care clinics, and retail clinics.

What is PCCC?

The program will evaluate and encourage the application of patient-centered principles, such as coordinating with and connecting patients to primary care, engaging patients and families in decision-making, promoting self-care, providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care, and committing to continuous quality improvement in clinical care, patient safety and patient experience.

Six standards were developed to align with PCMH 2014 and the PCSP recognition programs and to improve continuity and care coordination between ambulatory care clinics and primary care providers. The new recognition program for ambulatory care clinics is designed to meet three primary objectives:

  • Address concerns about fragmentation in healthcare by incentivizing information exchange and collaboration between primary care providers and other ambulatory care providers.
  • Continue to promote quality improvement and patient-centered care in the delivery system.
  • Provide a mechanism to link providers in the “medical home neighborhood” with a set of streamlined expectations.

In a blog posted earlier this year, we discussed the growing role of urgent care centers in the healthcare delivery system and the critical nature of care coordination between these ambulatory care clinics and the primary care providers. This new recognition program validates the importance of both their role and the continuing focus on patient-centered coordinated care.

The public comment period runs through August 6, 2014.  For additional information on the standards for the new PCCC program and how to opine, click here. NCQA also announced that it is seeking ambulatory care facilities to be pilot testers of the new program. Interested organizations should contact by July 28, 2014.  As with previous new programs, organizations can also elect to be an early adopter. Early adopters will be recognized in NCQA press releases and on the NCQA website as part of the program launch.

RMS Healthcare has over 50 years of collective and proven experience in providing consulting services to meet the specific needs of our healthcare clients. We are pleased to bring you news of NCQA’s announcement and will keep you informed as more information is released on the final PCCC program.  Our team has assisted more than 100 practices in becoming recognized through NCQA programs and can assist your organization in assessing readiness to adopt the new PCCC standards. For more information on how we can help, please contact Susan Maxsween, Director of Healthcare and Practice Transformation at or telephone her at 1-866-567-5422.