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Patient Centered Medical Home: The Evolution of Healthcare in Prisons

May 24, 2023

By Lukas D’Ambrosio Communications Office

(Lukas D’Ambrosio, Communications Office)

The Department of Corrections (DOC) is excited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH)(pdf) pilot project. This project has spread to many facilities across the state and has been a great collaborative effort between all those involved. A large factor in the success of this project has come from its collaborative workshops where representatives from facilities across the state come together to share experiences and best practices.

“The people that deliver the care are the ones who identify the processes that need to be changed in the way they do the work,” PCMH Project Manager Candy Tribbett said.

The Department is moving to this new form of care as it allows for better, more comprehensive care for patients and spreads out the responsibility for patients across an entire team instead of one individual practitioner.

“Incarcerated will get a much better experience in terms of medical, mental health and dental,” said Maisi Renard, a Medical Assistant at Washington State Penitentiary. “We’re all going to work as a team, we all speak to each other. We all intertwine together. They’re going to get the full circle.”

The model left behind by the Department was akin to an urgent care, where medical needs were based on an emergent basis with severity taking priority. PCMH focuses on preventative care.

“The model we had before was based on people being ill and then taking care of that illness,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Maryann Curl. “What we've done is we've taken an approach to really emphasize prevention and emphasize really taking care of people proactively instead of waiting for them to get sick and then doing something about that.”

In the future, DOC plans to expand this project to all facilities and continue to evolve with its collaborative workshops.