Featured Medical Home: Pediatric Care Specialists, Johnstown

May 28th 2014

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Pediatric Care Specialists, Johnstown: Above and Beyond

Pediatric Care Specialists, Johnstown (PCS Johnstown) has been a part of the Medical Home Initiative for about two and a half years.  So far, PCS Johnstown has added 260 patients with special healthcare needs to their patient registry.  Their medical home team consists of Dr. Brad Drennen, Bethany Homyak, PA-C, and Dee Crownover, a nurse and care coordinator.  

Every medical home practice approaches care coordination differently, depending on the needs of their patients and the capabilities of their staff.  Dee described the process of identifying and coordinating care for a medical home patient at PCS Johnstown as “an ongoing process.”  First, providers identify a patient based on their needs and diagnosis.  “When I’m notified, I place alerts in the patient’s chart so they are given longer appointments,” Dee explained.  “Sometimes, patients with special needs require more time during a well-visit appointment to go over services, medications, or specialist visits.”  After arranging for longer appointment times, Dee calls parents to explain and discuss the medical home concept, offering resources depending on their child’s diagnosis or providing guidance about specialist care.  At PCS Johnstown, medical home families are contacted on a regular basis to make sure that the practice is doing as much as they can to coordinate care.

Dee utilizes any number of resources if parents are in need of equipment or services, from medical supply companies to the Elks nurse for that patient’s family.  “Every case is different, so I refer to lots of different resources,” said Dee.  In one instance, a four-year-old with shaken baby syndrome was in need of a special kind of walker called a “rabbit mobile stander” that was denied by his insurance company.  Dee explained the exhaustive process:

Nothing we tried worked.  The Elks nurse wrote a letter to the insurance company, we asked for help from Occupational and Physical therapy services, the patient’s doctor did a peer-to-peer with the insurance company to request the equipment, and it was still denied.  Finally, I called our state senator and was able to get him the walker.

Care coordinators like Dee frequently go above and beyond to secure appropriate services for their patients with special needs.  Without knowledge of and access to resources, many patients and families spends hours searching for assistance.  As a medical home, PCS Johnstown bridges those gaps. 

As with many practices, parent partners have helped Dee, Bethany, and Dr. Drennen streamline and improve the family experience at PCS Johnstown.  “We meet with our parent partners as often as possible, and they are constantly giving us useful feedback,” Dee said.  Mary Beth Seybold (along with her husband Don) is a parent partner at PCS Johnstown and spoke about her experience:

This was an opportunity for my husband and I to get involved in helping the practice understand our needs as parents with "special children." We have built relationships with other "special needs" parents and hope as this group grows we can find away to make a difference and give back to others. 

The entire staff of PCS is involved in the care of their patients.  Medical assistants keep all the records and lists current, billing department assists in getting referrals approved and assisting in insurance matters, nurses answer questions and tend to medical matters and the doctors and extenders give excellent care and attention to patient with and without special needs.  Although the Pennsylvania Medical Home Initiative is designed to help practices identify and coordinate care for children and youth with special health care needs, implementation often results in improved care and services for all patients.  Medical home practice teams are committed to providing accessible, family-based care that takes each patient’s individual needs into account.  For PCS Johnstown, that commitment has translated into a practice-wide effort to improve quality for patients and families.

The Pediatric Care Specialists website has some additional information about the practice.  Click here to meet the entire PCS team!