Time to Welcome Those in Need

Monday, December 17th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller


‘Tis the season to welcome those in need, and doctors’ offices are a good place to start.

Primary care physician offices need to be more accessible, because the majority of patients are finding their doors closed when they most need them, says a new report from the Center for Studying Health System Change

Of nearly 10,000 patients surveyed who have a usual source of primary care, more than half said their doctors did not provide care after hours and on the weekend. These patients were more likely to go to the ED as a result, or skip medical care completely, researchers said. At a time when reducing unnecessary ED visits totaling more than 136 million in 2009, according to the CDC is a major concern of healthcare experts, this could be a simple, potentially cost-effective solution.

Another reason to expand primary care access? Americans are living longer, given increasing medical advances, according to United Health Foundation’s 2012 America’s Health Rankings®. But they’re not necessarily healthier, because of increasingly unhealthy behaviors and diets, habits that unfortunately aren’t limited to the typically overindulging holiday season.

While rates of premature, cardiovascular and cancer deaths have declined since 1990 by 18 percent, 34.6 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively, preventable behaviors have increased: nearly a third of adults are obese, 10 percent of the population has diabetes, 31 percent has high blood pressure (BP) and 26 percent of adults are sedentary or do not exercise outside of work, resulting in increasing levels of diabetes and high BP.

There is another population that is living longer – former cancer victims who beat the odds but now have bodies weakened by cancer treatments. These ‘survivors” need a heavy dose of holiday cheer, in the form of a dedicated line of care, and today’s case managers can provide that care, says Sheryl Riley, managing partner at Clarion LLC. But they need to be trained not only to deal with the physical after-effects of their disease, but their emotional state and their families’ emotional state – as well.

And this could very well be a topic of discussion for our brand new LinkedIn forum: CaseTalk… a Forum for Care Coordinators, where case managers can talk about best practices, news and analysis, and network with others.

In our discussions with case managers over the years, we have found that they would appreciate an online meeting group where they can share ideas and concerns about their craft with the limited amount of time they have, all year round. We hope that CaseTalk becomes that go-to place for many of you, case managers and healthcare professionals alike.

Happy holidays!

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