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Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Thanks 'Pioneers' for Making Pennsylvania the National Leader on Chronic Care Management and Creating Patient-Centered Medical Homes

PHILADELPHIA, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today thanked a group of health care professionals and insurers for being the "pioneers" who helped launch his groundbreaking Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan chronic care and patient-centered medical home initiative. The initiative helps primary care providers improve the care and health of all Pennsylvanians, especially those with chronic diseases, and has the potential to save the state's health care system billions of dollars once it is implemented statewide.

"Tonight, I am here to thank you on behalf of the approximately 15,000 adult patients with diabetes and 12,000 pediatric patients with asthma, who are your patients and policyholders, for the many improvements you are making and helping them make in their lives," Governor Rendell said.

The Governor's remarks tonight were to those in southeastern Pennsylvania who were the first to commit to the program in May 2008. The program combined the Wagner chronic care model with the patient-centered medical home model, initially concentrated on diabetes and pediatric asthma. It is being implemented statewide in stages and will eventually cover all chronic diseases.

"The data is starting to come in and the results are impressive. Your diabetic patients are taking control of their own care -- the number with self-management goals has increased 195 percent in one year since you began the chronic care initiative. There has been a 71 percent increase in the number of people getting eye exams and a 142 percent increase in the number getting annual foot exams. The number who has lowered their cholesterol below 130 had increased by 43 percent and their blood pressure below 140/90 by 25 percent. All of these improvements mean healthier Pennsylvanians.

"It is exactly the results we envisioned when we included Dr. Ed Wagner's chronic care model in the Prescription for Pennsylvania. And what's exciting is that we've just started. Just imagine the effect it will have the longer it is used for all chronic disease and as more regions of the state begin to use it," the Governor added.

The results for pediatric patients with asthma have been equally encouraging. Compared to last June, twice as many patients now have a documented asthma action plan that tells them how to take their controller medications, how to avoid asthma triggers that may prompt an asthma attack, and what to do in the event of an attack and depending on the severity of the attack.

"When we started finalizing the Prescription for Pennsylvania in 2006, Rosemarie Greco and Ann Torregrossa of my Office of Health Care Reform told me the extent and cost of chronic disease on the people of Pennsylvania," the Governor said. "I thought they had misspoken. They said 75 percent of health care costs can be traced to 25 percent of patients with chronic care; that those with chronic disease only receive 56 percent of the care they need; and that hospitals were charging more than $3 billion for avoidable hospitalizations for chronic disease which would not have been necessary if people were receiving evidence-based care in the community. It was stunning.

"Then, Ann laid out for me a plan, built on the work of a dedicated genius, Dr. Ed Wagner, that could reduce the burden of chronic disease, save money and, most importantly, save and improve lives. Because we also wanted all patients to get better care, we combined the Wagner model with the patient-center medical home concept and I made it a cornerstone of my Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan. And here you are today -- proof that the idea was the right one and that it could make a tremendous difference."

The details of the chronic care initiative were developed by 44 members of the Chronic Care Management, Reimbursement and Cost Reduction Commission, who were appointed by the Governor. They developed a plan that proposed a pilot program enrolling 30-60 primary care practices in the southeastern region in learning collaboratives that would help improve how they monitor, deliver and are reimbursed for chronic care management. The first collaborative, which the Governor honored tonight, started in May 2008. Additional collaboratives are underway in other regions of the state. By June 2009, more than 750,000 patients will be treated at practices involved in these collaboratives.

While a few other states, such as Vermont, Washington, Colorado and North Carolina, have launched chronic care initiatives, Pennsylvania's is the first that also took into consideration the way health care practitioners are paid for delivering care. Insurers agreed that it pays dividends to pay a little more to improve the amount of time that is spent with patients before problems are exacerbated and become difficult for the patient to handle and more costly to the system.

The chronic care plan, as well as more information on Governor Rendell's Prescription for Pennsylvania, can be found at

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit

    Amy Kelchner (GOHCR)

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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