Morning Read: Adirondack project could be new model for healthcare

We’ve reported before on the Adirondack Regional Medical Home Pilot project, which aims to refocus the way healthcare is delivered.

The new approach is more outcomes-based and less concentrated on costly procedures.

Doctors and hospitals are rewarded financially for actually improving people’s health, not for using expensive machines or drugs.   They also work to reduce costly emergency room admissions.

Now the Albany Times-Union has an update on the story, looking in-depth at how the Medical Home approach affected Amy and Brendan Gotham, a couple in Lake Placid, who have a young baby.

Amy Gotham had just crawled into bed when the baby monitor shook with an alarming noise.

Gotham, 29, ran into the next bedroom to find then-5-month-old Liam bawling and coughing, yet unable to make a sound. His case of croup — a swelling around his vocal cords — had dramatically worsened overnight.

Gotham called her husband, Brenden, who was still at work. “I’m taking him to the ER,” she said.

But using an on-call system and improved electronic medical records, their doctor was able to help over the phone, calling in a prescription to the pharmacy and making the trip to the emergency room unnecessary.

While [Adirondack Medical Center CEO Chandler] Ralph said it is too early to assess per-patient cost savings, ER visits dropped from 16,249 in 2009 to 15,417 in 2010.

According to the Times-Union, New York state is now preparing to expand the Adirondack pilot project to involve roughly a million families across the state.  Read the full article here.

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11 Comments on “Morning Read: Adirondack project could be new model for healthcare”

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  1. verplanck says:

    outcome-based payments for health care procedures just makes sense. Why should we pay for treatments and procedures that yield no results?

  2. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    This is very encouraging to read. Given the current state of our health care system and its continued skyrocketing costs (with no end in sight), we have no choice but to seriously change the way health care is not only delivered, but how it’s paid for. I will give Mr. Cuomo credit in that he seems determined to reform medicaid here in New York and this initiative may turn out to be a means to that end. It’s also neat that it’s being spearheaded right here in the North Country.

  3. Peter Hahn says:

    but how are they going to pay for those expensive machines they bought?

  4. Peter Hahn says:

    Seriously – its great that people are trying stuff that might bring down costs but not compromise care.

  5. Pete Klein says:

    If you want to fix health care, I suggest we start by getting rid of Medicare, Medicaid and all health insurance companies. Then we have one health plan for everyone (a very large pool of over 310 million) fully funded by an equal percentage increase in the income tax.
    No special plans for anyone. Not even for any of our elected officials.
    This would put all businesses and their employees in the same boat with government workers. You could work for anyone and still have the same health care benefits. You could change jobs or be out of work and not worry about getting sick. You could retire without worrying about any donut holes.
    One for all and all for one through the income tax.

  6. Peter Hahn says:

    Pete Klein – you are referring to a “single-payer” system, which would be cheaper, but it is more complicated than that. You would still need “rationing of health care” to get the costs down to a reasonable level. somebody has to be able to decide that a costly procedures isnt needed, and if it is the person whose livelihood depends on how many people are treated with the procedure deciding whether or not you need it….

  7. Walker says:

    Pete, great idea! But one of our two political parties calls ideas like that “socialism” and insists that it’s a short slippery slope from there straight to collective farms and everyone calling everyone else “Comrade”. (Of course, this is ignoring the fact that Canada and most of Europe has been doing this for decades with not a single Gulag in sight.)

  8. Pete Klein says:

    Pete Hahn,
    First, I must ask if you are related to Mike Hahn of Hahn Automotive Whse. in Rochester. Used to call on him years ago when I sold auto parts.
    To your point. There already is a form of rationing. It’s called “I can’t afford the drugs or the co pay.”

  9. Peter Hahn says:

    Pete Klein – no relation – and yes that form of rationing – including inability to afford specific medical care in general – holds down health care costs in relation to total GDP, it doesnt do any of us who have health insurance any good.

  10. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    An even simpler process is Medicaid/care for all, but with the caveat that we make real effort at abuse, fraud, waste, redundancy, improvement, etc. in the already existing Medicaid/care system. Seems the Medical Home Program mentioned in this article is one such example of how we could improve Medicaid/care.

    And yes, we would need to increase the withholding taxes on both the employee and employer to help pay for this. However, if you consider how much both already contribute to Medicare (take a look at the deduction on your pay stub and multiply that by 52 weeks or 26) and, if your employer provides health insurance, what they and you (if you have to contribute) pay to for profit health insurance companies annually, we’d probably be further ahead of the game by simply paying a bit more directly to Medicare via withholding taxes. And as Paul mentioned, every working individual would now be covered and has much greater security and freedom when it comes to health care coverage. Imagine what a simpler system we’d have for businesses, gov’ts, schools districts, etc. if they only had to pay withholding and not deal with for profit insurance companies? Which is exactly why insurance companies and their enablers in Congress and the White House want no part of it……

  11. Peter Hahn says:

    We probably have to wring the “fee-for-service” part out of the reimbursement scheme.

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