Ellsworth, Wisconsin — Ellsworth Medical Clinic is among 30 clinics nationwide selected as an Exemplar Primary Care Practice by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Group Health Research Institute, who have teamed up on a new initiative to identify practice innovations that make primary care more efficient, effective, and satisfying to patients and providers. The Primary Care Team: Learning from Effective Ambulatory Practices (LEAP) project identifies primary care practices that have focused on teamwork and new roles for health professionals in ways that support consistently outstanding primary care. Ellsworth Medical Clinic was selected through a rigorous national process to receive the designation.

“We are honored to be selected and are eager to participate,” said Keri Lijewski MD, Medical Director and Family Medicine physician at the Ellsworth Medical Clinic. “Our commitment to the best quality care for the patients, along with our willingness to embrace change and be creative and approachable is what makes our clinic unique.”

The goal of the LEAP project is to identify and share innovative staffing arrangements that make primary care more accessible and effective for patients. A LEAP team recently conducted a three-day site visit to understand how the Ellsworth Medical Clinic primary care team delivers high quality, patient-centered health care. The exemplar practices will then join together in a learning community to share best practices and distill their innovations into training and technical assistance materials that can be used by others.

The Ellsworth Medical Clinic, along with their sister clinics in River Falls and Spring Valley will be influential in developing creative workforce models that will be disseminated to primary care practices nationwide.

“We are relentless in looking for new opportunities to improve the care we deliver to our patients and have been honored to have been selected as one of only two clinics in the nation for our efforts to help our patients manage hypertension,” said Chris Tashjian, MD. “We never stop learning.”

“Now more than ever, the country recognizes that a great health care system has to build on a strong primary care foundation. We are seeing innovation all over the country, particularly in the area of primary care but there has been little study of how practices have redefined traditional roles and developed a team approach to caring for patients,” commented Margaret Flinter, PhD, APRN, LEAP project co-director and senior vice president and clinical director of the Community Health Center, Inc. and director of its Weitzman Center for Innovation. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to study these innovations that improve patient and practice outcomes and share them so they can be replicated.”


About the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Group Health Research Institute

Named for a Group Health founder and pioneering physician, W.A. MacColl, MD, the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) was established in 1992 by Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, who is a senior investigator and founding director of GHRI. In the mid-1990s, the Center developed the Chronic Care Model, a widely endorsed and adopted approach to improving ambulatory care that has guided clinical quality initiatives in the United States and internationally. The Center was also the home of Improving Chronic Illness Care, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program that has been involved in further developing, testing, and disseminating Chronic Care Model-based clinical improvement efforts. To learn more about this work, visit www.improvingchroniccare.org. For information on Group Health Research Institute, go to www.grouphealthresearch.org.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For more than 40 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.