In support of VA’s Universal Health Care Services Plan to redesign health care delivery, San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) has implemented Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT). PACT provides accessible, coordinated, comprehensive, patient-centered care. It’s team-based and managed by primary care providers along with their teams of clinical and non-clinical staff.
The team includes a primary care provider, registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse and a clerical associate. Extended team members include, but are not limited to, a clinical pharmacist, social worker, dietitian and mental health provider. Team members work together to improve patients’ health and are doing so by working at the top of their license.
SFVAMC has been implementing PACT since 2010. This approach allows patients to experience a more active role in their health care, increasing patient satisfaction and decreasing hospital costs due to fewer hospital visits and readmissions, per VA’s Primary Care Program Office.
Since 2011 we’ve taught highly-motivated primary care residents, internal medicine residents, nurse practitioner students, and associated health trainees to build core knowledge of PACT and skills that they apply to their individual patient panel, a shared team patient panel, and to the clinics in which they work.
Our initial focus has been to increase telephone care so patients can meet with their provider over the phone instead of coming in, when appropriate. Patients appreciate the convenience. We have successfully implemented online secure email messaging for faster communication between patients and provider teams. SFVAMC also offers selected patients with chronic conditions (such as diabetes and hypertension) the opportunity to participate in group care. In the next fiscal year the goal is to increase the percentages of calls made to patients within two days of discharge, provide increased continuity of care, same-day access for patients, and appointments within seven days of desired date.
Our patients are excited about the PACT approach to health care. They feel comfortable contacting members on their team and are more empowered in taking care of their health. Click here to learn more about patient-centered health care.