UHS Primary Care has been honored by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), acknowledging that UHS meets national standards for patient access to primary care providers while providing continuity of care and enhanced patient education.
What does that mean for you? Patient-Centered Medical Home accreditation means UHS is the perfect place for you to find a primary care provider whose office becomes the home base for all your health care needs. We want to be more than just a medical office, your doctor will become your partner in your health care. That means making same day appointments available when you're sick, referring you to a specialist when you need one and helping you stay well.
UHS operates primary care centers and walk-in clinics in many locations throughout Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Tioga counties. These physicians are on the front lines of patient care. They respond to a broad range of medical problems people encounter throughout their lifespan. Primary care physicians deliver the basic diagnostic, treatment and preventive medical care patients most often need in a way that's convenient to you and your family. It’s better care for you, close to you.
Choosing a Doctor
One of the most important decisions you’ll make is selecting a family care provider. Here are some things to think about:What types of physicians provide primary care?
Family medicine physicians and internal medicine physicians (or internists) are often primary care providers. Obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYN) physicians and pediatricians also can be designated as primary care providers depending on your health insurance plan. Be sure to consult your health insurance plan to learn what types of physicians it covers. What type of doctor would best suit my needs?
The answer to this question varies. If you want one doctor to treat your whole family, you may want to choose a family medicine doctor as your primary care physician. If you have a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you might want to choose an internist. If you’re a woman with concerns about women’s health issues, an OB/GYN might be a good choice. If you want your child seen by someone who specializes in children’s health care, you may want a pediatrician.
Other factors you may wish to consider are:
What’s the easiest way to find a physician?
- Is the physician’s office in a convenient location?
- Is the physician covered by my health plan?
- What is his/her philosophy of care?
- What are the physician’s clinical interests?
- What is his/her experience and education?
- Who covers for the physician when he/she isn’t available?
- How are after hours medical concerns handled?
UHS maintains a directory of physicians
listing doctors who are members of our medical staff. This directory is searchable by type of physician and includes information on where these doctors attended medical school and completed their residency, as well as their specialties, areas of interest, board certifications, office location (including address and phone number) and website address.
We also offer a free telephone referral service that provides detailed information on participating members of our medical staff such as their education, board certification, specialties, office location, hours of operation and insurance participation. Part of our Nurse Direct
program, the physician referral service at 607-763-5555
is available to residents of Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Delaware counties everyday from 7:00am to 9:00pm, with live transfers provided Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Nurse Direct can also provide you with accurate, reliable medical information that’s free and confidential. To speak with a registered nurse at Nurse Direct, call 607-763-5555 from 7:00am to 9:00pm, seven days a week. What if I need more specialized care?
Referrals to specialists often are made by a primary care physician. If you need to see a specialist, discuss your concerns with your primary care physician. Feel free to ask your doctor for more than one name if you wish to get a second opinion. Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
In some cases patients may make their own appointment with a specialist. You’ll need to verify with your insurance plan whether you’re eligible to self-refer. You can also contact the specialist to make sure that he/she accepts self-referrals.
School-based Health Centers
In conjunction with the Binghamton City School District, UHS operates school-based health centers at Franklin Elementary School
and Roosevelt Elementary School
These centers provide:
- Primary and preventive health care services
- Counseling, emotional and behavioral support services
- Annual physicals if requested; a physical is required by the New York State Department of Education for children in grades K, 1, 3, 7 and 10
The staff of our school-based health centers (which includes a full-time, board certified pediatrician) works closely with school nurses and coordinates care with the child’s primary care provider to ensure communication and continuity of care. Who can get care?
Care is available to all students who attend a participating school. However, for your child to be seen by center staff, an enrollment form that gives us permission to see your child must be on file. These forms must be updated each year.
What about costs?
When is the center open and how do I get an appointment for my child?
- There is no out-of-pocket cost for services delivered at the center, regardless of whether you have insurance or not.
- The center will bill your insurance or Medicaid (if applicable). To do this, we must have a copy of the front and back of your insurance card.
- When your insurance company is billed, they may send you an Explanation of Benefits form. Even if this form shows an amount in the patient responsibility column, there is no cost to you for services provided at the school-based health center.
- You are not responsible for a co-pay.
- You are responsible for the cost of any services provided outside the center, such as X-rays or prescriptions that may be ordered.
School-based health centers are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. following the school schedule. This means we’re typically open on teacher conference and staff development days, when the school is open but students aren’t present. The centers are closed on holidays and vacation days when schools are closed. Parents may call for an appointment to have their child seen even if the student is not well enough to attend school that day. Parents are welcome to accompany their child to the center and are encouraged to communicate with center providers.
UHS Accredited in Patient-centered Care
UHS primary care offices have received accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) based in Washington, D.C. The accreditation, called Patient-Centered Medical Home, acknowledges that UHS meets national standards for patient access to primary care providers, while providing continuity of care and enhanced patient education.
“The accreditation is called Medical Home because every patient should have a primary care provider whose office is the home base for their health care needs,” said Frank Floyd, M.D., Associate Medical Director of the UHS Medical Group. “That’s what they find at the UHS sites. We are not just a medical office. We are partners in healthcare with our patients. We are their home base and, in most cases, we can get them in for an appointment the same day they call.”
As part of the accreditation process, the NCQA reviewed extensive data from the individual primary care sites. They focused on how well the providers organized care plans around the needs of the patients and scrutinized the level of teamwork among the providers, patients, their families and any specialists.
The UHS Electronic Health Record (EHR) system played a key role in earning the accreditation. The system utilizes templates to track the status of annual visits and alert providers about the need to schedule a patient’s immunizations and medical tests, such as a colonoscopy. When a patient receives care from a specialist, the information about that visit becomes part of the health record so that the primary care provider stays up-to-date. UHS also offers an interactive website and uses electronic prescribing with built-in computerized cross checks to keep track of patient allergies and drug interactions.
“The use of information technology helps improve the level of care we provide,” Dr. Floyd said. “It even allows us to make outreach phone calls to remind a patient if they are past-due for a visit. It is extremely helpful for patients with chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or diabetes. We make sure to provide them with the educational information they need and we work to get them involved in their own care management.”
As part of the Medical Home project, UHS has also instituted enhanced case management. This includes proactive calls from the medical offices to ensure the timeliness of primary care follow-up after ER visits and hospitalizations.
The UHS primary care sites which received the accreditation include offices in Binghamton, Johnson City, Deposit, Endwell, Endicott, Greene, Windsor, Newark Valley, Candor and Owego.