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Physicians Join With National Healthcare Leaders to Explore New Ways to Enhance Geriatric Care in America

Fifth Annual Conference Sponsored by SCAN Health Plan Takes Holistic Approach in Seeking New Solutions to Improve Clinical Care and Healthcare Process

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 200 physicians and nurses gathered with national healthcare leaders in Long Beach this weekend to address a myriad of issues surrounding geriatric care in America. Topics covered ranged from such clinical areas as diabetes, dementia and prostate cancer to more process-oriented issues such as how to best transition patients through various levels of care to assure that they receive the right care at the right time in the right setting.

"Our goal through this symposium and others like it is to improve the healthcare process by providing practical, hands-on knowledge that attendees can take back to their practice and begin implementing to make a difference," said Dan Osterweil, M.D., professor of medicine at UCLA, director of the Specialized Ambulatory Evaluation Center in Sherman Oaks, a consulting geriatrician at SCAN Health Plan, and one of the planners of the conference. "What we try to share is another way to provide care to older individuals that is efficient, is evidence-based, and in many cases has been proven to improve quality."

Sponsored by the not-for-profit SCAN Health Plan, this fifth annual geriatric symposium has been growing in prestige and popularity as evidenced both by its increasing attendance and by the nationally known keynote speakers at this year's event. These included, among others: John Morley, M.D., editor-in-chief of Journal of American Medical Directors Association; Betty Ferrell, Ph.D., from The City of Hope; and Joseph G. Ouslander from the Institute of Successful Aging in Boca Raton, Florida, and executive editor of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

"In assembling our agenda and speakers, we look for gaps that exist in continuing medical education and try to fill those with information that can directly impact performance," says Dr. Osterweil. "For example, it is unique for a symposium like ours to cover the management of dementia and depression, but by focusing on this we believe physicians can improve care of other co-morbidities associated with dementia and thus improve a patient's quality of life."

This year the conference also included a special hospitalist track in recognition of hospital-based medicine as the fastest-growing specialty in healthcare. There was also a focus on discharge planning and care coordination post-hospitalization. "It is important that we take a holistic approach and look for new solutions if we are to care for a society where in two decades one of every five American's will be 65 or older," Dr. Osterweil said.

As a health plan dedicated exclusively to seniors and others on Medicare, SCAN's sponsorship of the symposium is part of its ongoing commitment to better understand the aging process and advocate on behalf of the needs of seniors. Earlier this year, SCAN joined with the UCLA Academic Geriatric Resource Center and the California Geriatric Education Center to sponsor the seventh annual Leadership and Management in Geriatrics conference.

For more than 30 years, SCAN Health Plan has been focusing on the unique needs of people with Medicare and today is the fourth-largest nonprofit Medicare Advantage Plan in the United States. The company currently serves 110,000 members in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura and Kern counties. In Arizona, SCAN offers a Medicare Advantage Plan in Maricopa County and provides long-term care services to individuals in that county who are enrolled in the state's long-term care system. Further information may be obtained at

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