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Diabetes Coordination Program a Lesson in Rural Innovation

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 29, 2012

CCHS will also use some of the money to devise financial incentives that will reduce care costs for the diabetes patients who maintain that regimen and meet health improvement markers. 

"Part of what we are trying to do with this grant is to look at the problems our diabetic population faces and say if you join the program and are compliant and we see progress we will provide some form of incentive that, for example might help you offset the cost of your co-pay," Strube says.

About 80% of CCHS's 27,700 patients are at least partially insured, but that doesn't mean their costs are covered. "We have a fairly balanced case mix but a significant portion of our patients are economically distressed."

With the region facing tough economic times, Strube says it makes sense to offer financial incentives in a pilot program to keep cash-strapped diabetic patients on their regimen. "We offer greatly reduced costs for folks who don't have insurance, but it is not free," he says.

"Even for folks who have insurance, many employers are going to high deductible plans. So the first $1,000 might be out of their own pocket. When gas is $4 a gallon and you have to drive to get anywhere around here because there is no public transportation, people are oftentimes putting their co-pay in the tank to come and see the doctor."

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1 comments on "Diabetes Coordination Program a Lesson in Rural Innovation"


Laura S. Morris (3/1/2012 at 2:32 PM)
We did this using community-based patient navigators under the new federal Patient Navigator Demonstration Program. Unfortunately we were not able to sustain it when the grant ended as no single provider was able to "own" and show an immediate return the community investment. Until there is a reimbursement for care coordination or providers are given a financial encentive, this proven concept for dealing with chronic diseases will go wanting.