ROUNDS Preview: Taking Care into the Community
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"The economic crisis has made it even more important to have a strong, robust safety net of community clinics, public hospitals, and local health departments that serve the needs of people who have lost their health insurance and can't find care anywhere else," Baxter says. "Over the last two years, Kaiser Permanente invested over $50 million to support those safety-net institutions in their delivery of high-quality care."
From its own results with 9 million members, Kaiser Permanente knew that emphasizing the use of three medications proven to help prevent heart disease—aspirin, statins, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors)—showed decreased morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes.
Starting in 2003 in Northern California, KP partnered with a set of 46 community-based ambulatory sites, community clinics, and public hospitals that all shared some degree of experience in evidence-based prevention and risk-reduction clinical practice. KP supported the program with clinical expertise, with the physician leader for diabetes care working closely with the community benefit leaders to gather physician engagement within the community health centers for the three-drug regimen. These leaders were supported by chronic disease managers and nurses who also helped drive local-level engagement at the community health centers.
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