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'One-stop Care' Cuts Costs by Double Digits for Seriously Ill Patients

By Tinker Ready  
   March 16, 2017

The per-patient cost of hospital care declined 19.4% for aging patients enrolled in a project that provided home-based services. Now an interdisciplinary panel is examining ways to build and pay for a "critical pathway to improved care."

When seriously ill patients seek care at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, they can expect to get care from the system for the rest of their lives.

Not just health care, but everything required to meet their social and functional needs, says K. Eric De Jonge, MedStar's director of geriatrics.

He calls it "one-stop shopping" and he shared the concept with a panel that met in Cambridge, MA, at the Harvard Law School last week.

De Jonge is involved in an effort by the school's Petrie-Flom Center to address care for people who are seriously ill. The Center is dedicated to the study of health law policy, biotechnology, and bioethics.

It is working with C-TAC, the non-profit Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, to apply an "interdisciplinary analysis to important health law and policy issues raised by the adoption of new person-centered approaches to care for this growing population," according to the center's website.

The panel, which convened last Friday, includes representatives from organizations interested in services for and the needs of the frail, elderly and seriously ill. Panel members were asked to consider a dense draft proposal for "a care model implementation framework" for patients with serious illness.

6 Months to a Framework
The goal is to come up with a framework within six months. The draft document spells out the group's tasks this way:

  • Define the seriously ill
  • Identify promising solutions
  • Examine care outcomes: quality, care experience, and costs
  • Explore implementation
  • Evaluate evidence

One key to the panel's success will be to ensure that its recommendations are simple to understand, yet capture variation of needs at a local level, said Khue Nguyen, the COO of C-TAC Innovations.

Tinker Ready is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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