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Prevention Institute

Prevention Institute E-alert: March 30, 2015

New Medicare payment system may open doors for community health

Government officials announced in January a timeline for Medicare’s shift to paying clinicians based on quality of care rather than quantity of services. Our recent KevinMD blog post outlines how this move suggests momentum is building for the potential of integrated, holistic healthcare, which can be inclusive of community-centered health and prevention.

Private insurers will follow Medicare; together, these changes afford the opportunity to better move the country toward an inclusive and comprehensive approach to health and healthcare, and away from a focus on discrete episodes of treatment.  We are hopeful this movement will continue, and that community prevention strategies will become an integral part of what is meant when we talk about quality health and healthcare. 

Needless to say, the devil will be in the details of how the Medicare policies are implemented, and there is no guarantee of significant change in the way community health efforts are supported. Still, we see this payment shift as an opportunity to widen the focus and conversation on what quality health and health care entails—and that includes community health. We applaud that the government is moving in a direction that better enables the support of true quality.

As Prevention Institute’s Larry Cohen explains on the KevinMD blog:

"To create a true culture of health…we must widen our focus from the individual to encompass the health of communities. We cannot understand a patient’s health needs without considering the context in which she lives, works, plays, and learns. Community environments and related behaviors are the leading factors driving health outcomes, so it’s critical to make space to assess and address these issues in health care settings.

The Community-Centered Health Homes model…does just that by linking high-quality medical care with prevention strategies for improving community conditions. This approach engages doctors, nurses, and the entire health system in understanding the underlying conditions that contribute to poor health in their neighborhoods and cities—and changing those conditions for the better. Addressing the root causes of illness and injury will keep patients healthier in the first place, and support recovery of those who are sick or injured."

Read the rest at KevinMD.

Community-Centered Health Homes

Community-Centered Health Homes: Bridging the Gap Between Health Services and Community Prevention outlines an approach for upstream integration between community-based efforts and clinical services. Download here.

Community Health Homes: A Video Intro

In this five-minute video, produced by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, PI's Larry Cohen describes the basic vision of the model, introducing it to health leaders in that state as they develop a demonstration project. Watch it here.

Role of Community Culture in Health Efforts

The Role of Community Culture in Efforts to Create Healthier, Safer, and More Equitable Places: A Community Health Practitioner Workbook draws on the experiences of many communities working to advance place-based prevention. It is designed to guide community health practitioners who want to learn more about the role of community culture in environmental change efforts. Read more here.

Closing the Loop

Prevention measures that restrict tobacco  consumption or require the use of seat belts save lives—and money. But that money rarely gets used to fund new prevention efforts. In a paper published by the Institute of Medicine, PI’s Larry Cohen and The California Endowment’s Anthony Iton argue that we need to “close the loop” by ensuring that we invest and reinvent in prevention. Download here.

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