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28 April 2013 @ 02:56 pm
The Power of Nurses and Home Visits  
I suffer from chronic illnesses and the system really doesn't know how to handle us. This was genius. Often we hesitate to bring up new symptoms, afraid of being seen as malingerers or hypochondriacs but if someone asks, we'll tell them. This would likely result in catching things before they become emergent and thus saving health care dollars. What a concept!



Health Quality Partners is all about going there. The program enrolls Medicare patients with at least one chronic illness and one hospitalization in the past year. It then sends a trained nurse to see them every week, or every month, whether they’re healthy or sick. It sounds simple and, in a way, it is. But simple things can be revolutionary.

Most care-management systems rely on nurses sitting in call centers, checking up on patients over the phone. That model has mostly been a failure. And while many health systems send a nurse regularly in the weeks or months after a serious hospitalization, few send one regularly to even seemingly healthy patients. This a radical redefinition of the health-care system’s role in the lives of the elderly. It redefines being old and chronically ill as a condition requiring professional medical management.

Health Quality Partners’ results have been extraordinary. According to an independent analysis by the consulting firm Mathematica, HQP has reduced hospitalizations by 33 percent and cut Medicare costs by 22 percent.
carmy_wcarmy_w on April 29th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
This is a spectacular idea, especially since even when a chronically ill person WON'T talk about new symptoms, the visual exam (even just watching someone, let alone an actual exam) can lend a lot of new information.

And can you imagine how much simply having someone turn up and talk to them on a weekly basis means to some of the elderly who don't have family or friends nearby? Just the human contact can help with loneliness and the accompanying depression. Heck-one could take the odd person off the street and send them around just to visit, and it would make a difference!

Edit to add: The first thing most insurance people would say about this is "too expensive!!" And yet, it ends up saving much more than it costs.

Not the same circumstances, but it reminds me of all of the arguments against unions. It's been proven that a company turns out better quality items faster in unionized plants. And yet they still move to non-union states, leave behind a trained workforce, and end up with crap products behind deadlines. I wonder why....

Edited at 2013-04-29 01:55 pm (UTC)
Tapatitapati on April 30th, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
It's misguided greed, misguided because they think they're getting more and they end up with less.
(Anonymous) on June 4th, 2013 01:10 pm (UTC)
Hi Tapati!

I've just discovered your blog and it's very well done indeeed. The issues you bring up are interesting and pertinent. I am sorry to hear that you are ill. Perhaps you will write more about chronic illness in future posts? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Tapatitapati on June 6th, 2013 10:43 am (UTC)
You can find more posts about chronic illness here:

Thanks :)