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Spectrum Health Targets ED Frequent Fliers for Primary Care

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 17, 2012

"What needs to happen is a model like this that is more of a specialty place where you filter patients so that everyone who has a questionable issue or multiple issues would come through here and be medically, psychologically and socially evaluated and stabilized."

When that's done, Waller says, the patients can be transferred to a traditional primary care environment. "All they have to do is maintain it," he says, "because it becomes so expensive if every doctor's office has to have a psychologist or a social worker or five RN case managers."

Waller says he wants to show other health systems how to replicate Spectrum's success.

"We are retooling efficiencies right now," he says. "The reality is you have to have appropriate through-put without marginalizing the information we are getting. In two weeks we will have that on paper so we can have the billing codes and the ways it has to be documented set up."

"Within two to three weeks we are going to be able to tell somebody how to replicate this if they would like to."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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4 comments on "Spectrum Health Targets ED Frequent Fliers for Primary Care"


Deb McMaster (8/31/2012 at 8:09 PM)
This shouldn't be considered a one-size fits all approach. Therefore, assumptions should NOT be made about individuals that are taking prescription pain medications.

Ryan Nastaj (2/9/2012 at 1:17 AM)
Those os you who have posted, and there are currently two ahead of me, have not read the whole story behind this movement, This Dr. is a life saver, trust me when i tell you this, becuase i happen to be a patient there at the Integrative Medicine Group, the article left out the following, Dr. Waller is a Pain Medidcine Specialist, and addiction specialist and Emergency Room Doc also. The place doesnt only treat addictted patients to narcotics etc..it serves as a place to start then they transfer you to a regular primary doctor etc..So what the article said was he is an addiction specialist, thats is true but also treats Chronic pain and they do have other staff from network 180 which is a community or a place for the community to go for mental health , addiction stuff etc..when you go in you meet with several different people, from net 180 , dr. waller, a nurse, etc.. and they target your issues form various aspects. So thisis not just a place for addicts...just thought id let you know the truth

Cathy Martin (1/25/2012 at 9:23 AM)
I applaud Spectrum's concept. I think it will provide a very proficient way to ID patient's that will benefit from the program and give a very holistic approach to their care. However, I would caution that a program of 6 weeks is still in a honeymoon phase. I am a very "the glass is half full" person, but I don't belief that in 6 months to a year you will be seeing a sober rate as stated -"More than 90% have stayed clean since they started treatment here," he says. I would be interested in an update on the program's progress at 6 months and one year. I am hoping that Spectrum will share their program as a model for others and have great success with it as well.