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'Care guides' show another face of health reform

Star Tribune, May 7, 2013

Dr. Richard Adair insisted that they spell it out clearly when the jobs were first posted: No experience required. The idea was to hire people with no medical background, give them two weeks of training, and send them off to clinics to start seeing patients. Five years later, these so-called "care guides" are fixtures at more than two dozen Allina Health clinics in the Twin Cities, and groups around the country are calling to find out how the concept works. The guides are part of a fast-growing, and hotly debated, trend in medicine: Putting people with minimal (if any) medical expertise on the front lines — with titles like patient navigator or coach — to help improve care, and rein in the costs, of patients with chronic illnesses