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New report: Community health plans improving care for patients with chronic illnesses
Date:11/30/2011

Community health plans are partnering with physician practices to initiate a range of care management programs for people living with chronic diseases; these programs have resulted in decreased emergency room (ER) use, improved health and lower costs. The findings, released today by the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), are part of a report that is a comprehensive look at the way community health plans partner with providers to improve care.

Care management is the coordination of care and services for chronically ill patients who require complex, one-on-one and personalized care, and is emerging as a foundation of patient-centered medical care. At many ACHP plans, a plan-employed care manager works with a medical practice to coordinate services for patients living with long-term, chronic diseases, through activities such as patient education, referral to community resources and agencies, help navigating health care systems and coordination of information among multiple providers. Innovative health plans, including Geisinger Health Plan, Group Health Cooperative and Independent Health have launched care management initiatives in partnership with medical practices, resulting in improved patient experiences.

"Improving how we care for those living with chronic disease is a national priority and requires that we understand not only the role physicians and practices play, but also how health plans can help advance and integrate care," said ACHP President and CEO Patricia Smith. "With this report, we demonstrate the critical role community based health plans play as a partner in improving the delivery system."

ACHP also found significant cost savings when reviewing results from its members' care management programs, primarily due to prevention of avoidable hospitalizations and ER visits. Between January and July of this year, for example, Group Health Cooperative reported total cost savings of more than $2.5 million for pat
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Contact: Anna Helms
ahelms@achp.org
202-785-2247
Alliance of Community Health Plans
Source:Eurekalert

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