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The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission Developing
Primary Care Home Option

Modified October 8, 2010

(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. – September 7, 2010) The Joint Commission is developing standards to expand the process of accrediting ambulatory health care organizations to those who are also interested in electing the Primary Care Home option. A Primary Care Home is a model of care whereby services are provided to patients by a primary care practitioner or team that increases access to its services, tracks and coordinates a patient’s care delivered by other practitioners and facilities, uses evidence based treatment protocols, and focuses more on patient and family education and self-management. This helps to ensure the patient receives timely and appropriate treatment. The Primary Care Home option will help accredited organizations to increase patient satisfaction, improve patient outcomes and reduce the overall costs to the health care system.

This initiative complements the Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program and is consistent with the new health care reform efforts to improve the coordination, quality and efficiency of health care services. This initiative is designed to combine the improvements in quality of care and patient safety achieved through accreditation with increased reimbursement from third party payers when the additional requirements of a Primary Care Home are met.

Proposed new standards for the Primary Care Home Initiative are expected to be posted for a field review in early 2011. Pilot testing of the standards will also be conducted before they are considered for approval. If approved in accordance with the expected timetable, standards would be available in spring 2011, and on-site surveys of organizations interested in Primary Care Home accreditation would begin in July 2011.

“This new optional program will help ensure that patients receive ambulatory care services in a manner that is comprehensive, accessible and coordinated. By focusing on carefully orchestrating care, patient outcomes can be improved,” says Michael Kulczycki, executive director, Ambulatory Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission.

A Primary Care Home Initiative Expert Panel is guiding the development of supplemental ambulatory care accreditation standards for organizations that elect the Primary Care Home option. Specifically, the panel is providing input on topics such as:

  • Roles and responsibilities of the primary care practitioner;
  • Roles, responsibilities and composition of the care team;
  • Processes necessary to ensure and support continuity of care;
  • Processes to support and incorporate patient self management; and
  • Operational topics such as scheduling of patient appointments to ensure adequate access to care.

The Joint Commission is also seeking feedback from Medicare and Medicaid officials and insurance companies to ensure that the Primary Care Home standards will enable organizations to be eligible for enhanced reimbursement.
For more information about the Primary Care Home Initiative, please visit  or contact Michael Kulczycki at 630.792.5290 or


Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 9,700 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. In addition, The Joint Commission also provides certification of more than 1,700 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

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