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Disease Management Protocols at Lehigh Valley PPO, Valley Preferred, Making A Difference
Date:1/12/2010

ALLENTOWN, Pa., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians participating with Valley Preferred, a community-based preferred provider organization located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, are reducing usage of critical health care services by improving methods in which they manage disease -- and the results are notable. The results are based on managing populations of patients who have their health insurance coverage with a Valley Preferred payer partner.

"In today's world, we can lessen the dependence on health care," says Jack Lenhart, M.D., Valley Preferred's Medical Director. "There is an epidemic of increasing chronic disease, and better disease management and prevention are the best practices that yield the most positive results. Chronic diseases such as asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), congestive heart failure, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and vascular disease must be actively targeted for prevention, and improved care by physicians and patients in order to combat the high costs of these diseases." Nationally, chronic diseases consume more than 70 percent of health care costs [Source: Institute of Medicine, www.iom.edu].

From 2006 to 2007, Valley Preferred reports reduced medical needs related to select chronic diseases as follows: a 25 percent decrease in hospital admissions; 44 percent decrease in hospital days; and a 33 percent decrease in emergency room visits. Equally important was the corresponding 6 percent decrease in the number of absences and 50 percent decrease in the number of days absent on the job.

Take diabetes control, for instance. The 2008 patient study of Valley Preferred participating physicians revealed a 63% improvement of LDL cholesterol less than 100mg/dl within past year; 83% had 2-4 HbA1C measurements; 100% had an annual eye exam by an ophthalmologist; and 63% had controlled blood pressure of 130/80.  

"Our strategy is not new, but more accountable collaboration between patient and physician is making a difference," says Lenhart. "By being more accountable, by being in more communication with their physicians, patients are taking their prevention plans more seriously. Less absences and more productivity are the benefits to business."  

"With health care costs under increasing pressure, we must help people live healthier lives, a responsibility that lies with all of us," says Gregory Kile, executive director and CEO of Valley Preferred. "Our payer partners -- contracted health insurance companies -- understand the key to better overall community health results can only be improved by working closely with the medical community."  

Valley Preferred's attention to quality and efficiency creates the means to clinically integrate meaningful data for the benefit of providers, health insurance companies, employers and patients.  Affordable, flexible health plan options offered through health insurance companies contracted with Valley Preferred increase choices for businesses seeking the right fit. To assure optimal health, Valley Preferred offers prevention programs that may include continuous utilization review, case management, disease management, and health education and wellness programs. Prevention programs may also include on-site corporate health fairs, health seminars, health screenings, health awareness profiles and an employee assistance program.

About Valley Preferred

Valley Preferred is Pennsylvania's leading provider-owned, preferred provider organization. In partnership with 3,800 community-based doctors and 18 hospitals, Valley Preferred connects local businesses and individuals with contracted health insurance companies. Valley Preferred's corporate philosophy is reflected in its brand performance promise of "Care Beyond the Coverage." Through BeneFIT, its suite of custom health and wellness programs, Valley Preferred promotes healthier lifestyles for company employees and a culture of wellness in the workplace. For more information, visit www.valleypreferred.com.

SOURCE Valley Preferred

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