What the PCPCH STAR Criteria Means to Me

November 13, 2014   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: OHA PCPCH , Pediatrics
E. Dawn Creach, MS, Children's Health Alliance

As many of you probably already know, the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) Program is developing a new designation, called Tier 3 STAR, to acknowledge practices that have truly transformed into robust primary care homes. So what does a transformed primary care practice look like and how can we define it by a set of standards? 

Over the last 10 years of my professional career, I’ve had the opportunity to visit close to 100 primary care practices, each one of them unique. Needless to say, this offers some perspective.  A few weeks ago I visited one of our Children’s Health Alliance member practices, Metropolitan Pediatrics Westside. This was my first time at the clinic. Within five minutes of walking around, observing and talking to the practice manager and staff, I knew they had fundamentally transformed into a high-functioning pediatric medical home. Note to self: this clinic is part of a very small group of exceptional practices.

I didn’t need to look at their PCPCH application, and I didn’t need to study their clinical quality measures.  

What I did see were things like a meticulously maintained quality board prominently displayed in the hallway, with their current quality initiatives and corresponding data, all organized under the six PCPCH Core Attributes. I saw ribbons and small toy trophies from winning various quality improvement challenges. I also saw pictures of their Family Advisory Group, which meets monthly with their quality improvement team to help improve care. When talking to staff and providers alike, I heard things like “we want to be the best” and “we will never be done improving” and “we want to provide the best possible care for our children and families.” 

This is a truly transformed pediatric medical home - after years of dedicated leadership, hard work and cultural change. This is what I think of as a Tier 3 STAR Patient-Centered Primary Care Home. Practices like this are leading Oregon toward the Triple Aim of better health, better patient experience, and controlled costs.  

It’s difficult to define all this by a set of standards, but I think the proposed STAR criteria are a really good start. I just hope when the final criteria are released, Metropolitan Pediatrics Westside is included in that elite group, and that they receive recognition for their years of unrelenting pursuit of primary care excellence.    

Nancy Hardies, Practice Manager (left) and Kacey Smith, Quality Coordinator (right) of Metropolitan Pediatrics - Westside


Dawn Creach, MS is the Program Manager for Medical Home Delivery & Innovation at the Children’s Health Alliance (CHA) and Children’s Health Foundation. Dawn supports a variety of quality improvement initiatives within CHA, and brings a diverse background in research and evaluation, project management, practice coaching, and significant expertise in the Patient-Centered Medical Home/PCPCH model. 

Prior to joining CHA, Dawn worked for the Oregon Health Authority’s PCPCH Program as the lead for technical assistance, site visits, and communications. Previously, she worked at OHSU on various community-based research projects, and directed the evaluation of one of the country’s first national medical home demonstration projects. More recently, Dawn worked with Multnomah County on a strategic plan to integrate behavioral health and primary care, and at the Oregon Pediatric Society as the START (Screening Tools And Referral Training) project manager. Dawn has traveled around Oregon and the country studying innovative medical homes and is passionate about improving healthcare.

Dawn holds a Master of Science in Sociology and a certificate in Project Management from Portland State University, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Carroll College in Montana.