Premier gets NCQA designation

Premier Medical Associates’ primary-care practices have been designated at the highest level as patient-centered medical homes by a national accrediting organization.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance designated all seven of Premier’s adult medical practices at level three. Patient-centered medical homes use a team of health care professionals to provide comprehensive care for patients. Health insurer Highmark Inc. owns Premier, which has around 100 primary and specialty care doctors.

The NCQA designation means the practices use evidence-based treatment guidelines, identifies high-risk patients for special attention and prescribe medications electronically, which reduces medication errors that can occur when prescriptions are handwritten. The practices have also demonstrated the capability of identifying health issues in a given population.

Patients treated at medical homes are hospitalized less often, receive fewer unnecessary tests, and express greater satisfaction than patients treated at conventional offices. The nonprofit NCQA is based in Washington D.C. and Premier’s administrative offices are located in Monroeville.