249712 Use of a care management system to coordinate care for uninsured populations in Rural Appalachia

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:50 AM

Tip Ghosh, MS PhD Candidate , Strategic Health Resources, Arlington, VA
Our project has been designed to coordinate physician charity care for low-income, uninsured people. This project utilizing a care management system that provides an effective means to enhance access to care and improve the health of this population. The project started in Buncombe County (Asheville, NC). This project is based on physicians volunteering their time to see patients for free, and other community partners, such as hospitals, donating the other medical services the patients need.

The project utilizes a care management software that allows physicians to keep track of their uninsured patients and case management for the underserved. It facilitates an all-encompassing approach to continuity of care for the disenfranchised. With its automation features, the care management system maximizes the limited resources of the network. The increased efficiency that the system delivers eases the strain of limited funding and manpower.

There was a public commitment of physicians to treat every low-income, uninsured resident. In return for these physician commitments, the local hospital has seen a dramatic reduction in ER utilization and a significant savings in charity dollars. The community health centers have seen increased number of patients. The use of this care management system has allowed community physicians to reduced charity care.

Our research showed that the uninsured in the community were more likely to report being in good or excellent health. In addition, the cost of charity care provided by hospitals had declined significantly, and the uninsured were less likely to use the emergency room than before.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Define how the care management system provides care coordination for the community Discuss the key elements of the project that have allowed reduction in charity care and reduction in ED visits.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Care, Health Information

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present since my research is on the use of Health information technology for underserved populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.