Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 1418–1425 | Cite as

Development of a Safety Net Medical Home Scale for Clinics

  • Jonathan M. Birnberg
  • Melinda L. Drum
  • Elbert S. Huang
  • Lawrence P. Casalino
  • Sarah E. Lewis
  • Anusha M. Vable
  • Hui Tang
  • Michael T. Quinn
  • Deborah L. Burnet
  • Thomas Summerfelt
  • Marshall H. Chin
Original Research



Existing tools to measure patient-centered medical home (PCMH) adoption are not designed for research evaluation in safety-net clinics.


Develop a scale to measure PCMH adoption in safety-net clinics.

Research Design

Cross-sectional survey.


Sixty-five clinics in five states.

Main Measures

Fifty-two-item Safety Net Medical Home Scale (SNMHS). The total score ranges from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) and is an average of multiple subscales (0–100): Access and Communication, Patient Tracking and Registry, Care Management, Test and Referral Tracking, Quality Improvement, and External Coordination. The scale was tested for internal consistency reliability and tested for convergent validity using The Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (ACIC) and the Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment (PCMH-A). The scale was applied to centers in the sample. In addition, linear regression models were used to measure the association between clinic characteristics and medical home adoption.


The SNMHS had high internal consistency reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.84). The SNMHS score correlated moderately with the ACIC score (r = 0.64, p < 0.0001) and the PCMH-A (r = 0.56, p < 0.001). The mean SNMHS score was 61 ± SD 13. Among the subscales, External Coordination (66 ± 16) and Access and Communication (65 ± 14) had the highest mean scores, while Quality Improvement (55 ± 17) and Care Management (55 ± 16) had lower mean scores. Clinic characteristics positively associated with total SNMHS score were having more providers (β 15.8 95% CI 8.1–23.4 >8 provider FTEs compared to <4 FTEs) and participation in financial incentive programs (β 8.4 95% 1.6–15.3).


The SNMHS demonstrated reliability and convergent validity for measuring PCMH adoption in safety-net clinics. Some clinics have significant PCMH adoption. However, room for improvement exists in most domains, especially for clinics with fewer providers.


medical home community health center access to care quality of care 

Supplementary material

11606_2011_1767_MOESM1_ESM.doc (92 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 92kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan M. Birnberg
    • 1
  • Melinda L. Drum
    • 2
  • Elbert S. Huang
    • 1
  • Lawrence P. Casalino
    • 3
  • Sarah E. Lewis
    • 1
  • Anusha M. Vable
    • 1
  • Hui Tang
    • 1
  • Michael T. Quinn
    • 1
  • Deborah L. Burnet
    • 1
  • Thomas Summerfelt
    • 4
  • Marshall H. Chin
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health StudiesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Weill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Advocate Health Care SystemOak BrookUSA

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