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URAC Releases Issue Briefs Examining Stakeholders Views of Care Coordination Along the Healthcare Continuum

Briefs feature URAC's 8th Annual Quality Summit speakers Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D. of Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease; Cristie Travis, CEO of Memphis Business Group on Health

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Overhauling health care is a front-burner issue among the presidential candidates, but one top expert believes any serious proposal for reform must address preventable chronic disease. Kenneth Thorpe, PhD., helped launch the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) and will be a featured panelist at URAC's 8th Annual Quality Summit & Exhibit, Oct. 3-5 at the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson, NV.

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Thorpe, who is also chair of health policy and management at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, assembled PFCD earlier this year. It has grown to include 78 leading health care, business and labor community experts and organizations committed to positioning chronic disease care as a key health care issue in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Coordinating care for the chronically ill is one of the most daunting challenges in health care management today. Gaps in care too often lead to patient safety issues from medication errors, and from miscommunication among patients, care givers and providers. The URAC panel, entitled Industry Trends Toward Alliances in Integrated Care Coordination, will highlight national alliances and partnerships designed to address improving the quality of health care management and coordination.

The panel will be moderated by Cristie Travis, president and CEO of the Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH). Care coordination is a critical issue for employers. For instance, businesses are increasingly focused on value-based purchasing, which holds plans and providers accountable for cost and quality. This approach focuses on outcomes, patient experience, and cost, and, Travis noted, "care coordination touches all three." Without care coordination, Travis said the outcomes will be worse or the cost will be higher -- or perhaps both.

Other experts on the URAC panel will be Howard Pitluck, MD, MPH, FACS, vice president and chief medical director, health services advisory group for the National Transitions of Care Coalition; and Julian Roberts, executive director, National Association of Specialty Health Organizations. The panel will take place at the Summit during a general session Oct. 4.

"Care coordination involves more elements than ever before, and alliances like those represented on the URAC panel are increasingly more important in the effort to streamline care," said Alan P. Spielman, URAC's president and chief executive officer. "In many cases the patient is the only constant, navigating fragmented silos of care. Integrated care coordination will involve every health management component -- utilization management, case management and disease management --- with interactive consumer-decision-support tools, health promotion and employer-based health efforts."

Thorpe's insights on care coordination have been captured in a URAC issue brief, "Collaborating to Create Coordination," available online at

Another issue brief, "Coordinating care: Employers, consumers and communications," captures the views of MBGH CEO Christie Travis and CMSAA and URAC board member Cheri Lattimer. It is available at:

For a complete Summit agenda, registration, hotel, and travel information visit the URAC Web site at or call (202) 216-9010.

About URAC

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation and certification programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit

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