Department of Internal Medicine earns national recognition for quality care

May 09, 2014

By KUMC News

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today announced that The University of Kansas Physicians' Department of Internal Medicine has received NCQA Recognition as a Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) for its responsiveness to patients and medical colleagues, cooperation and integration with other health care groups, and dedication to continuous improvement. The KU Department of Internal Medicine is one of the first recognized Patient-Centered Specialty Practice in the country.

"This recognition means that the physicians in our Department of Internal Medicine are national leaders when it comes to providing high-quality specialty care that seamlessly compliments and enhances the primary care our patients are already receiving," said Steven Stites, MD, Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs for The University of Kansas Hospital Authority and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs for the University of Kansas Medical Center. "It means we are the best possible specialty partners that primary care doctors could hope to have."

Earning NCQA Recognition shows that the Department of Internal Medicine has undergone a rigorous review of its capabilities and is committed to communication, coordination and providing access to care. Recognition signals to primary care practices that these physicians, who in addition to provide ambulatory care in outpatient settings, also treat patients at The University of Kansas Hospital and serve on the faculty of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, are ready to be an effective partner in caring for patients they have in common.

This is the second time that NCQA has recognized the Department of Internal Medicine. In 2011, the department earned national recognition as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, a model of care emphasizing care coordination and communication to transform primary care. "In both cases, for primary care and now for specialty care, we have received the highest possible — Level 3 — recognition," Stites said.   

"NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Recognition distinguishes practices that communicate, collaborate and integrate care in ways that patients want and that improve quality," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "I commend the Department of Internal Medicine for its achievement, and for its commitment to continuous improvement."

The University of Kansas' Department of Internal Medicine met or exceeded national standards for:

  • Communicating with primary care clinicians to exchange key information and establish coordinated care plans.
  • Providing timely access to care and clinical advice based on patient need.
  • Using a systematic approach to track referrals and coordinate care.
  • Measuring and improving performance over time.

PCSP recognition is modeled on and complements NCQA's Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition program, the most widely adopted medical home model in the country. A medical home is a way of organizing primary care that uses teamwork and technology to improve quality, improve patients' experience of care and reduce costs. PCSP recognition highlights the "neighbors" in medical specialties that surround and inform the medical home and colleagues in primary care.



NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA's Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA's Web site ( contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices. For further information, e-mail

Last modified: May 09, 2014