Coordinated Care for Autism: One Less Mystery to Solve

The mysteries of autism are well noted. Patients and their loved ones often face an overwhelming mass of sometimes conflicting information in pursuit of care.

That’s why it is NCQA’s distinct pleasure to congratulate Connecticut’s Autism Center at Hospital for Special Care (HSC) for earning the first ever designation as a Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Autism Center is making a real difference in providing its patients with the comfort and answers that come with coordinated care.

NCQA hopes other specialty practices will follow HSC’s strong lead. Our objective has long been to measure quality of care and to hold health plans accountable for assuring they provide—and ultimately the patient gets—the very best research-based, coordinated care possible. NCQA also takes seriously its role of identifying and commending those who strive to treat patients from this patient-centered model.

NCQA’s PCSP program is modeled after a similar evaluation program for primary care practices. It is designed to improve quality, reduce redundant tests and procedures, and to cut back on negative patient experiences that are often the result of poorly coordinated care. The practice, in addition to delivering care, must coordinate with other providers—both primary care and specialists—and share all the patient’s necessary information among them. PCSP practices perform a long list of tasks to make sure the care doesn’t conflict, that it centers on the patient’s needs and convenience, and includes the patient, family and other caregivers as partners in developing and following a plan of care.

Thursday, Connecticut’s Governor, Dannel Malloy, held a special press conference to recognize the Autism Center’s achievement. We at NCQA want to echo his praise. The center has demonstrated its cooperation and integration with other health care groups and its dedication to continuous improvement.

But in a field of specialty where there are so many unanswered questions for so many, the Autism Center at Hospital for Special Care should be particularly celebrated for the coordinated care it provides patients.

It provides clarity in a plan of care. That’s just one less mystery to solve for those living with autism.

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