Friday, April 18, 2008

Pennsylvania Leads in Health Care Reform

The Disease Management Care Blog attended a meeting of the Pennsylvania Diabetes Action Partnership on April 17. It was notable because it was attended by the ‘important’ health care leaders from across Pennsylvania. By ‘important,’ the DMCB means those nurses, physicians, nurses, administrators, nurses, others and, yes, nurses who occupy the lower strata in myriad health care organizations and make things actually happen. The energy and enthusiasm in the room was remarkable.

PDAP is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and has its eyes on making the recommendations of Pennsylvania’s Chronic Care Commission a reality. Attendees at the meeting learned about the coming roll-out of 'learning cooperatives' designed to promote the Chronic Care Model for the care of persons with diabetes. A 1st phase cooperative has already started in Southeastern part of the State. The DMCB heard that participation by primary care practices has been impressive: they are turning doctors away.

Why is this important?

To the knowledge of the DMCB, this is the first attempt anywhere to implement the Chronic Care Model on a large and sustainable (emphasis on the word sustainable) scale outside of research settings, publicly funded clinics, and integrated delivery systems.

There seems to be considerable mainstream primary care physician support.

This is one of the cornerstones to extend health insurance coverage to all Pennsylvanians. In contrast to the Massachusetts experience, coverage is being paired with a credible attempt to provide better access.

If successful, the DMCB thinks this could a model for national health care reform.

The absence of the disease management community was conspicuous.

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