The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) voted recently to approve School-Based Medical Home Standards, a new national recognition program developed through a collaboration by the Montefiore School Health Program, the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), and the New York School-Based Health Alliance (NYSBHA).

The new program incorporates the core tenets of NCQA’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program, which has been in wide use since 2008. School-based health providers wishing to be recognized by NCQA will need to demonstrate that their practices meet 40 core guidelines as well as 25 of 60 additional elective guidelines. The guidelines, which emphasize better coordination and communication of services, will place the patient at the center of excellent care. Students who utilize services from NCQA-recognized providers can expect integrated behavioral health services and structured communication processes between providers and the care team.

“This is a tremendous breakthrough for school-based health providers,” said Margaret Rogers, DNP, of Montefiore, who also serves as NYSBHA’s past chair. “The School-Based Medical Home Standards will benefit both the students who know they are receiving high-quality care, as well as the providers themselves who will gain recognition and potential future reimbursement enhancement for the outstanding work that they are already doing to take care of our young people.”

With guidance from Ronda Kotelchuck, former CEO of PCDC, and with funding from the Altman Foundation, the three collaborators began working on the program in 2013. Through the partnership, Rogers led the initiative by gathering national and regional stakeholders for input, while Jodi Bailey, MPP, Analyst at Montefiore, and Maia Morse, MPH, Senior Program Manager at PCDC collaborated on the development of the standards and piloted them at school-based health centers in New York and Connecticut.

“This was an outstanding collaboration between three organizations that have contributed a lot to quality primary care,” said Ronda Kotelchuck. “They recognized an important opportunity to improve school-based health care, and used their considerable expertise to come up with a solution for NCQA to consider.”

In November 2016, the New York School-Based Health Alliance submitted a request to NCQA to consider the new school-based guidelines for incorporation into the NCQA recognition program. The now-approved standards resulted from a crosswalk of the school-based medical home standards and the new PCMH 2017 standards.

“School-based health centers are one of the best programs in health care, and New York has been a leader,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “The adoption of these standards is a testament to the great work by Montefiore, PCDC, and the Alliance in developing best-practices in school-based health care.”

New York State Senator James L. Seward said, “As a longtime supporter of school-based health clinics in New York, I am extremely pleased to see our state’s successful standards used to help develop national guidelines. These centers are a great way to start young people on a path of preventative care and are a major assist to parents. Nurturing this program and expanding it to more schools will mean healthier children and lower overall health care costs.”

“These new NCQA School-Based Health Home standards will finally quantify to the larger education and healthcare community the pivotal role that school-based health centers have always played in providing high-quality, integrated care,” said Viju Jacob, MD, chair of NYSBHA.

More information about these new SBMH standards can be found at
About Montefiore
The Montefiore School Health Program (MSHP) was founded in 1983. It is the largest network of comprehensive school based health centers in the nation providing medical, mental, dental, and community health services in 23 locations to more than 30,000 students attending 85 NYC Department of Education public schools in the Bronx. MSHP is part of Montefiore Medical Center, the academic medical center and University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Montefiore combines its deep commitment to the community with nationally-renowned expertise to reach people where they are.
About the Primary Care Development Corporation
The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization and a U.S. Treasury-certified community development financial institution (CDFI) that catalyzes excellence in primary care through strategic community investment, capacity building, and policy initiatives to achieve health equity. To date, PCDC has helped over 1,000 primary care practices in nearly 40 states to improve delivery of care by providing capital as well as training and technical assistance services. Since its founding in 1993, PCDC has leveraged nearly $875 million on projects that enhance capacity in low-income communities.
The New York School-Based Health Alliance was formed in 1992 as an advocacy organization representing the interests of school-based health centers (SBHCs) in New York State.  Our mission is to create access to comprehensive, high-quality primary care, including medical, mental, oral, and community health services, for all children and youth statewide through SBHCs. More than 200,000 children in the state have access to school-based health services at 250 SBHCs. The Alliance is the only organization that actively and effectively advocates for school-based health care in New York State.