« The Dual Agenda: May 14, 2015 Issue

Noteworthy News

Payment and Delivery Reform and Health Equity – Part Two

In part two of its blog series on health system transformation and health equity, Families USA explores innovative health models in New Jersey and New Mexico. In New Jersey, the post highlights the well-known Camden model which focuses on high-need, high-cost patients, sometimes termed “hot-spotters.” By partnering with local faith-based organizations, using an interdisciplinary care team and providing additional primary care and other services, this approach has shown promise in improving health and reducing costs for this largely low-income African American population.  In New Mexico, a federally qualified health center that serves a majority Latino population and a health plan have partnered with the University of New Mexico to experiment with care delivery by community health workers. Also focusing on high-need, high-cost patients, the New Mexico model provides extra services to sicker patients. 

Dr. Atul Gawande Re-visits McAllen, Texas

In a follow-up to his groundbreaking 2009 story on health care costs in McAllen, Texas, Atul Gawande has written another piece for The New Yorker about what has happened to costs there since. Dr. Gawande discusses the pervasiveness of “no-value” health care, and the promising news out of McAllen, where costs have fallen by almost $3,000 per Medicare beneficiary since 2009. Primary care physicians in McAllen have begun using alternative payment methods, and two practices have formed accountable care organizations. It is cause for optimism that significant changes in practice have come to what used to be one of the most expensive places for health care in the country.  

The Business Case for Patient Engagement

A Health Affairs blog post makes the business case for patient engagement, surveying the landscape of initiatives aimed at increased patient health literacy and empowerment, with the goals of lowering costs and realizing better health outcomes. The article also discusses shared decision-making, the use of social marketing in engaging patient communities, the use of technology in improving patient understanding of their health status, and keeping them connected to their health care providers.


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