Surface Creek Family Practice embraces team approach

Photo by Pat Sunderland Providers at Surface Creek Family Practice include (from left) Dan Burnell, certified physician assistant; Julie Fournier, certified family nurse practitioner; Dr. Kevin Pulsipher; Debbie Hillyer, certified family nurse practitione

Surface Creek Family Practice is one of 445 practices across the nation participating in the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative.

CPC is a four-year multi-payer initiative designed to strengthen primary care. Launched in October 2012, CPC supports five "comprehensive" primary care functions -- risk-stratified care management; access and continuity; planned care for chronic conditions and preventive care; patient and caregiver engagement; and coordination of care across the medical neighborhood.

The initiative is testing whether focus on those five functions results in improved care, better health and lower costs. The outcome may determine future Medicare and Medicaid policy.

Recently, the CPC initiative was expanded beyond the four-year model Surface Creek Family Practice is just completing, to 5,000 practices across the nation.

"As one of the original participants, our practices will be moved into a more advanced practice model, to be introduced to 4,500 additional practices," said Sheryl Hieber, Surface Creek Family Practice administrator.

Hieber sits on the Colorado steering committee for CPC, working with insurance providers, health care professionals and fellow administrators in driving this defined payment model across the state.

Surface Creek Family Practice is embracing team-based health care on several other fronts. The practice has incorporated behavioral health care in both the Delta and Cedaredge clinics. Master level counselors work with patients on goals for health behavioral changes.

The practice is also currently one of three sites participating in an initiative called co-earth, partnering with St. Mary's Family Practice residency and Rocky Mountain Health Plans to build fully integrated behavioral health into primary care.

Through a partnership with the CU Pharmacy School, the practice provides free one-on-one diabetes and cardiovascular disease education. The students also work with providers and patients on shared decisions on medications and assist with insurance authorizations.

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