Emory Transplant Center First in Nation to Earn Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Recognition

Date: Sep 25, 2017

Emory Transplant Center has been recognized as the first transplant center in the nation to receive the Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Level 3 recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). A level 3 status is the highest level of recognition a specialty practice can receive.

“We are so proud of this major accomplishment by the Emory transplant team,” says Thomas Pearson, MD, PhD, professor of Surgery, division of Transplantation, and executive director of the Emory Transplant Center. “Delivering patient-centered care has always been our mission, so to receive the highest level of recognition from the NCQA is especially rewarding.”

What Exactly is the Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Recognition?

The NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. After developing the Patient-Centered Medical Home model for primary care, the NCQA has extended the medical home concept to specialists. The Patient-Centered Specialty Practice model bridges specialty care and primary care coordination – combining teamwork and information technology to improve patient care and the overall patient experience.

To earn the NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice recognition, specialists must:

  • Establish formal and informal agreements with referring clinicians to exchange key information.
  • Maximize teamwork among care team members, including patients, families, and caregivers.
  • Provide timely access to care and clinical advice based on patient need.
  • Use a systematic approach to track patient information and coordinate care.
  • Include patients and family/caregivers in care planning and management.
  • Continually measure performance and patient experience to identify ways to improve.

What Does it Mean for Our Transplant Center Patients?

Earning NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice recognition shows our patients, consumers, private payers and government agencies that Emory Transplant Center has undergone a rigorous review of its capabilities and is committed to sharing information and coordinating care. Recognition also signals to primary care practices that the specialty practice is an effective partner in caring for patients.

“This 14-month project allowed us to evaluate in detail how our center works, from the point of view of patients and referring clinicians,” says Pearson. “We look forward to utilizing what we’ve learned to continuously improve in areas such as communicating with our referring providers, tracking and managing patient care, providing access to care, and more.”

The recognition lasts for three years, then practices must re-apply for future recognition.

“Coordination between primary care and specialty teams is very important for our patients undergoing a transplant,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, President, and CEO of Emory Healthcare. “Our teams have worked diligently to meet the standards for this special recognition from the NCQA, and we are honored to be the first transplant center in the U.S. to earn this prestigious designation.”

To learn more about Emory Transplant Center, visit emoryhealthcare.org/transplant.

Emory Transplant Center

As one of the top 10 transplant centers in the nation, Emory Transplant Center is at the forefront of clinical excellence and pioneering new transplant therapies. The center offers cutting-edge technology and superior outcomes in heart, kidney, liver, lung, and pancreas transplant surgeries. Emory Transplant Center, a part of Emory Healthcare, has performed more than 8,000 transplants to date and all solid organ programs meet Transplant Centers of Excellence quality outcome criteria. The center’s core mission is to provide exceptional care for patients in need of organ transplants while offering access to the latest transplant technology.


NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.

To learn more about NCQA, visit www.ncqa.org.

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