How GBMC is revolutionizing primary care

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(Left to right) Dr. Ben Hand; Dr. Robin Motter-Mast, Department Chair of Family Medicine; Dr. Sarah Whiteford; and vice president of Greater Baltimore Medical Associates Ben Beres standing in the Family Care Associates practice. The practice was recently redesigned for an optimal patient-friendly experience.

Greater Baltimore Medical Center is setting the standard for providing quality primary medical care during a time of industry upheaval.

With more than 20,000 inpatient cases and some 52,000 emergency room visits annually, GBMC has been perfecting its primary care offerings since 2010. Comprehensive medical teams that include physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, nurse care managers and care coordinators are available for extended hours on weekdays and weekends and are always connected to up-to-the-minute patient data through an electronic health record system.

This allows all caregivers to have access to the same information, which improves safety and communication, even when a patient is treated by a physician he or she has never seen before.

"We are doing all that we can to make sure our patients are receiving the highest quality of care during their visit, as well as when they are not in our offices," said Dr. Robin Motter-Mast, department chair of family medicine at GBMC. "We work very hard on population health to ensure patients are receiving recommended medical care even when they are not in front of us."

GBMC's primary care services have evolved as the Affordable Care Act revolutionizes healthcare in this country, emphasizing preventive and primary care services while promoting quality. Roughly 50,000 people are served by GBMC primary care practices, said Diana Mantell, GBMC's administrator of population health.

"We're proactively reaching out to our patients to improve the care they receive and living up to our vision of providing the care we would want for our own loved ones," Mantell said.

The Affordable Care Act has put a premium on what are known as patient-centered medical homes. More than a traditional doctor's office, a patient-centered medical home is a team-based healthcare delivery system that focuses on providing patients with better health and better care at a lower cost.


In addition to delivering evidence-based care, preventive medicine and management of chronic illness, physicians and caregivers include patients as integral parts of their own care. Through proactive monitoring, the care team also helps to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital.

The Hunt Valley office was the first of GBMC's primary care practices to be designated as a patient-centered medical home. Like all of GBMC's patient-centered medical homes, it offers services during extended evening and weekend hours to improve patients' access to care and is staffed by several physicians and nurse practitioners.


Because the offices are interconnected, a patient can go to any of its sites, regardless of where their regular primary care physician is located. The patient's test results and other critical information are also available through any of the locations, which include the main GBMC campus in Baltimore, as well as Hunt Valley, Owings Mills, Perry Hall, Phoenix, Timonium and Towson.

What's more, all offices are recognized as Level 3 patient-centered medical homes by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the highest designation available. And through a Web-based tool known as myGBMC, patients have 24-hour online access to their electronic health records. Using myGBMC, patients can also securely request prescription refills, look up test results, communicate electronically with their caregivers and request referrals to see specialists.

Surveys show nearly 93 percent of GBMC patients are satisfied with their primary care physicians.

"Our community is taking notice," wrote Dr. John Chessare, GBMC's president and chief executive officer, in a recent blog post. "We are achieving better health and better care at lower cost and our team is finding more joy in its work."

Patients agree.

"I feel like my family and I are a part of a larger family at GBMC," said patient Priscilla Scott. "They know our names, who we are and even remember our discussions from previous visits. Everything is very organized and taken care of in a timely manner, which is very important to me. I couldn't be happier with my decision to become a GBMC patient."

—David Ogul, Tribune Content Solutions