Healthy Living: Medical pilot program
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A trip to the doctor’s office may not be easy.
“I've got 'white coat syndrome. I hate going to the doctors,” said Renne Crowley.
Under a unique pilot program. Crowley said they're more productive than ever before.
Crowley said, “It's nice to come in the door, have your doctor's appointment and then go and see her."
Donna Medeiros is a registered nurse.
“Are you still checking your blood sugars?" said Medeiros.
In just five weeks, she's helped Renee get her diabetes under control.
Crowley said, “She monitors everything: my weight, my levels, everything."
Donna is one of 22 patient care managers. Part of a three-year initiative to help patients with chronic health conditions better navigate the health care system.
Dr. Wallace Johnson of the University of Rochester said, “I think this really is a very dynamic and important time in primary care medicine."
The University of Rochester medical center partnered with two health insurance companies on the project. The idea creates a whole new model for primary care.
Dr. Johnson said, “One in which care coordination is centered at their primary care office."
In its second year, the 33,000 patients involved in the program have seen a reduction in cholesterol, improved blood pressure, and have been screened for several forms of cancer.
Dr. Martin Lustick of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield said, “I would say it's worked really well on the quality side, but we are still looking to see how things perform on the cost side."
Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield said the model actually raised health care costs in year one. Dr. Lustick said those numbers leveled off in year two. And he's hopeful the program will eventually save money.
“We know the earlier you diagnose them the better you can treat them and two, in the long run, catching them earlier is going to be less expensive,” said Dr. Lustick.
Not only has Renee lost 18 pounds in five weeks, she's actually looking forward to her next visit.
Crowley said, “I'm not tired. I feel good. I’m proud of me, and she's proud of me. So we're going to keep on going."