Lawrence's Internal Medicine Group implementing changes to improve care for patients

During an interview Thursday, July 26, 2012, Dr. Greg Schnose, of Internal Medicine Group in Lawrence, explains the levels of care that his practice plans to achieve by participating in a state "Patient Centered Medical Home" pilot project. The practice, 4525 W. Sixth St., is one of only eight practices selected for the two-year project.

During an interview Thursday, July 26, 2012, Dr. Greg Schnose, of Internal Medicine Group in Lawrence, explains the levels of care that his practice plans to achieve by participating in a state "Patient Centered Medical Home" pilot project. The practice, 4525 W. Sixth St., is one of only eight practices selected for the two-year project. by Richard Gwin

Lawrence’s Internal Medicine Group is one of only eight practices selected for a state pilot project that aims to put the focus back on patients.

That means providing more preventive care, education and referrals on where to get help for things like smoking cessation.

That means having email and weekend hours that make them more accessible.

That means following up with patients to see if they received the recommended treatments, like a mammogram or seeing a specialist.

“The basic model of care had been acute illness care and reacting to acute problems when people get sick with colds and pneumonias and major illnesses,” said Dr. Greg Schnose, co-founder of Internal Medicine Group, 4525 W. Sixth St.. “Now, we are building time to do maintenance and chronic disease management.”

For the project, the practice is focusing on three chronic conditions: high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes. For example, Schnose said the practice is scheduling regular diabetes visits instead of trying to manage a patient’s diabetes when he or she seeks treatment for an acute illness.

Other practices involved in the Kansas Patient Centered Medical Home Initiative are located in Winfield, St. Francis, Ellsworth, Pittsburg, Sabetha, Wichita and Plainville. The project is being led by Kansas Academy of Family Physicians which received a $500,000 grant that enabled it to hire Leawood-based TransforMED to provide training and resources.

Through webinars and conference calls, the practices continue to be educated, and they are learning from each other.

At Internal Medicine Group, Susan Andersen, advanced practice registered nurse, is project coordinator for the Patient-Centered Medical Home. She said the biggest challenge has been getting all 50 staff members on board with the changes.

“The No. 1 issue is the buy-in because it’s a huge culture change,” she said. “I think the biggest threat to people in addition to the change is, ‘Is this going to mean more work for me?’”

Initially, it does require learning new systems of care and documenting that care electronically, but over time, they expect it will result in less paperwork and more efficiency that will enable staff to spend more time with patients.

Susan Andersen, advanced practice registered nurse, is project coordinator of the Patient Centered Medical Home Initiative at Internal Medicine Group, 4525 W. Sixth St. During an interview Thursday, July, 26, 2012, she talks about the project and how it will benefit both patients and staff. The thick book in front of her is just part of what she's using to keep track of the project. She said, "That's just the start. It's a huge work in progress."

Susan Andersen, advanced practice registered nurse, is project coordinator of the Patient Centered Medical Home Initiative at Internal Medicine Group, 4525 W. Sixth St. During an interview Thursday, July, 26, 2012, she talks about the project and how it will benefit both patients and staff. The thick book in front of her is just part of what she's using to keep track of the project. She said, "That's just the start. It's a huge work in progress." by Richard Gwin

Internal Medicine Group is located at 4525 W. Sixth St. It has 50 employees, including seven full-time doctors. Dr. Anna Kumru, a general internist, will be joining the practice this month.

Internal Medicine Group is located at 4525 W. Sixth St. It has 50 employees, including seven full-time doctors. Dr. Anna Kumru, a general internist, will be joining the practice this month. by Kevin Anderson

One month ago, the practice began offering a free online service to its approximately 10,000 patients so they can ask questions, send information or get test results by email. So far, about 35 percent have signed up.

“The hope is that it saves time and is more efficient for both sides, so patients don’t have to be waiting by the phone,” Schnose said.

Another big change is tracking preventive care like flu shots. When the doctors first started tracking, their records indicated only 30 percent of their patients had received shots. The next flu season, they did a better job of documenting and found the rate was 75 percent which is better than the national average of 60 percent. But, Schnose thinks they can do even better by providing one-one-one education through the new online system.

Internal Medicine Group’s goal is to earn the Patient-Centered Medical Home designation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or NCQA. So far, 17 practices in Kansas have received the designation; none are in Lawrence.

Andy Reynolds, NCQA spokesman, said the designation benefits both patients and health care providers. For patients, it means better care. For providers, it means higher reimbursements from insurance companies and getting back to old-school medicine where they develop relationships with patients.

“This way of working saves money because the patients stay healthier and so Medicare and Medicaid and all of the ways we pay for health care in America — the total tab over time — becomes a little lower as people are kept healthier on the front end,” Reynolds said.


SUMMIT TO FOCUS ON PATIENT-CENTERED CARE

The Kansas Academy of Family Physicians is organizing a state summit about the national initiative to move to a Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care. The summit will be Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 on Kansas University’s Edwards campus in Overland Park. It is for anyone who is interested in this initiative or wants to learn more about it.

It will include exhibits and presentations on topics ranging from “Effective Communication in Medicine” to “What Have Our Bosses Gotten Us Into Now?”

The cost varies depending on whether you are a member of the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, a medical student or part of a statewide pilot project.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit kafponline.org/KansasPCMH or call 316-721-9005.

Tagged: Internal Medicine Group, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, Patient-Centered Medical Home, National Committee for Quality Assurance

Comments

paisley 1 year, 12 months ago

I have been a patient at Internal Medicne for 30+ years now. This is an exceptional group of people dedicated to caring for others. By staying with the same group, I've always felt that they do get to know you well. These folks have literally saved my life...I'm going to say twice now. May they all be blessed.

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Clark Coan 1 year, 12 months ago

Excellent! I just started going to Dr. Molly Imber there.

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Jerry Salisbury 1 year, 12 months ago

I have been using them as my doctors ever since I've been here and they are excellent to a person. My primary care physician is Dr Molly Imber (in tandem with my gastroenterologist Dr Theresa King at the same location) and they are both head and shoulders better than any doctor I have ever had in my 44 years. I was diagnosed with serious medical condition over 2 years ago and received the most competent, thorough, compassionate and professional service from everyone from the aforementioned doctors to nurses, lab techs and front desk people. I could not think of a more deserving award for them

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lucyjj 1 year, 12 months ago

My doctor is Dr. Schnose. A few years ago he started bringing a laptop into the examination room for my visits with results of my various tests. This has made it much easier for him to explain and for me to see the trends that he focuses on. I am glad they are moving forward with using technology to assist the doctors and nurses.

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Alceste 1 year, 12 months ago

Reads to Alceste like this program is simply a ruse to foist doctor work over to nurses with fancy titles. No thank you.

And why is that guy focusing on Medicare and Medicaid as ways of paying health care costs? Internal Medicine Group receives far more income from private insurance companies and has far more customers with private insurance than it does public health care recipients. Look where they're located....how many Medicaid people are out that way?

That fancy building out in rich people land didn't build itself. Gee, I wonder how it got paid for.....; Alceste remembers when that practice was in the regular peoples' part of town. Too, the article totally fails to note the reality the practice was purchased by LMH several months and then some back.....less work for all associated with "...the practice....".

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Karrey Britt 1 year, 12 months ago

Andersen and Dr. Schnose said the practice accepts Medicaid and Medicare patients, so let me know if you've been turned away. Also, the practice has moved several times since it was started by Dr. Schnose and Dr. Pees in 1979, and it was purchased by LMH last year.

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Jayhawk_4_Life 1 year, 12 months ago

I say Alceste doesn't know what that hell they're talking about.

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appleaday 1 year, 12 months ago

"Medical Home" is a term coined by a pediatrician in 1963. It has popped up from time to time as health care financing changes. It is currently being promoted by insurance companies as a way to streamline care while maintaining quality and safety. I'm involved in a medical home project in Kansas City. Patients, familes, providers, and third-party payers all like it.

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Alceste 1 year, 12 months ago

Chumps "trust" the insurance industry is all Alceste has to say about that. And most doctors who are in league with said industry are quacks who forgot about the Hippocratic oath they took long ago: Their focus now is their portfolio, their holdings, their bank accounts, and their checkbook.....pretty much in that order.

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Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

Also.....beware the "younger members" of this practice. Alceste has defacto knowledge and facts about one of the "newer" members.....watched the person grow from a really good, concenend, and caring doctor, right out of residency and into the "business/practice" of Internatl Medicine.........into a person only worried and or concerned about their own.....very own....personal holdings and bank accounts.

Why on earth would anybody want to go this outfit for ANYTHING other than a "routine" medical matter (colds, flu, stepped on a nail, etc.) when one can go to the Mayo Clinic after a mere 7 hour drive and enjoy a REAL community....fraught with diversity of both thought as well as ethic, racial, political, gender, etc????? You've just GOT to be an idiot to use anything connected with LMH when you have a choice. Emergency situation? Different story.....get to the closest place; get stabalized.....and then GET TRANSFERRED to a "REAL medical care team". It is what it is.

When a guy like Gene Myers is being paid almost $1million per annum (pay plus perks), something's just not right on the local level. Top this fact off....is the very real fact, Myerers don't pay dime one in any sort of taxes to us locals: He don't own property or live around here; he don't pay no auto registration monies to this area; etc. He's not better or worse than the clown residing at Loring Henderon's "homeless shelter". shrug

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goodcitizen 1 year, 11 months ago

Well shoot I just let go of my doctor at this office due to the 15 minute--"Dr. when I do this (for the past 8 months) it hurts--well don't do that" appointment I took off work for. Wish they would have had email back in April, I could have saved a half a sick day. I know the younger doc's have student loans to pay so I really don't fault them, but I thought a younger doc would have more up to date and holistic knowledge of human health than that. Hope they do make improvements.

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