One Simple Idea Could Revolutionize Health Care in Philly

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Philadelphia Citypaper released an article highlighting the care coordination movement and the dramatic impact it is having on the lives of the most vulnerable patients. Dr. Brenner and the Camden Coalition were proud to be represented in the piece. An excerpt is below, but be sure to check out the full article here:


Then the world found out what was happening in Camden.

A slew of reporters, most prominently Atul Gawande, the medical correspondent for the New Yorker and PBS’ Frontline, began making pilgrimages to America’s poorest city, to tell the story of how, over a decade ago, Brenner had been involved in efforts to reform the Camden police department, and then begun applying Comp-Stat principles to health. Using data prised from the grip of area hospitals, Brenner began mapping “hot spots,” the locations of the worst-off patients, termed “super-utilizers” of the costly emergency-room-centered system. What he found were astounding symptoms of systemic dysfunction: Two city blocks, one containing a senior housing tower and the other a nursing home, generated $175 million in medical bills in less than six years. The top diagnosis in Camden emergency rooms was head colds. And 1 per-cent of patients were accounting for 30 percent of health-care costs.

Brenner and the organization he founded, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, responded by developing care-management teams, each consisting of nurses, a community-health worker and health coaches, to intervene and work with patients on an intensive basis to plug them back into the health-care system. The Coalition created a citywide health-information exchange, to coordinate care and locate patients in need of intervention. And they launched a citywide diabetes collaborative to target chronically ill patients.

Brenner’s work has been a game-changer, and not just in Camden. His sudden celebrity changed things for Schneider as well: “The thing that I tried to do six years ago — and they tried to have me committed when I asked if I could do it — now is a big deal.”

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