The Petaluma Health Center has received top honors from a national organization dedicated to improving healthcare, the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Petaluma Health Center administrators learned last week that the center was awarded a three-year recognition as a Patient Centered Medical Home.

As a Patient Centered Medical Home, PHC emphasizes strong partnerships between physicians and their care teams to meet patient needs. Staff members use a new "home team" care approach in which providers, including doctors, nurses, nutritionists and medical assistants, gather daily to share concerns and information about patients who have appointments that day. This, PHC representatives say, enables them to offer patients an integrative medicine program, timely services and relevant health education.

The nonprofit health center received the honor based on completing extensive surveys detailing its policies and procedures at PHC, which has 170 staff members serving 19,000 patients.

"We are honored to be one of the first community health centers in the country to have received this national recognition," said PHC Chief Executive Officer Kathie Powell. "It is a testimony of two of our organizational principles. Our number one commitment is to provide the highest quality health care to every one of our patients throughout their lives. Also, our patients' health needs and comfort are central to all of the decisions we make on a daily basis."