What do hip replacements have to do with systems of care?

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Good article in USA Today Money section focusing on an innovative approach to reducing health care costs that involves a collaboration between a major corporation (Intel) two local health care systems and a health insurer.

From the article...
Collaborating reduces costs of health care
Peter Cady, who works 12-hour shifts on his feet at Intel's plant here, occasionally suffers severe lower back spasms. But he nearly gave up seeking medical help because in the weeks it took to get a doctor's appointment and a referral to physical therapy, the pain usually subsided.

These days, he's much happier with his care. Rather than waiting to see a doctor, Cady and other patients with routine back pain now see a physical therapist within 48 hours of calling, compared with about 19 days previously, Intel says. They complete their treatment in 21 days, compared with 52 days in the past. The cost per patient has dropped 10% to 30% due to fewer unnecessary doctor visits and diagnostic imaging tests. And patients are more satisfied and return to work faster.

"It's a real bureaucracy buster that gets you right straight to someone who can take care of the problem," says Cady, 47. "Before, the doctor wasn't helping me or explaining anything. But the physical therapist educated me, gave me stretches and exercises to do, and cleared it up."

The change came about through a collaboration between Intel, two local health care systems and a health insurer. Based on that success, the partners developed similar improvements for hip, knee, shoulder and headache treatment. Intel and its partners say the result has been $2 million in administrative savings this year, from reduced costs for patient scheduling and registration, for example.

Okay, quick quiz - Why in the world would we be posting an article about hip replacements? Because the approach they took to reduce costs with this particular physical ailment is straight out of the system of care playbook. We as a movement need to be documenting successful collaborations that involve non-traditional and traditional partners that improve functioning and save dollars. States are moving quickly to define what gets paid for and what does not. Send us your examples to help us create a national bank of successful examples of the value of a systems of care approach.

Use the example in this article as a guide but replace the phrase "hip, knee, shoulder and headache treatment" with children's mental health treatment. Have fun and think alongside the box!

Read the full article here...


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