With a training session for clinical care leaders in Los Angeles last week, we’ve now completed four such sessions, training a total of 170 clinical care leaders on new practices that improve health outcomes while reducing costs. See here for a detailed overview of the first session in Philadelphia, courtesy of the 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund there.
These training sessions, which previously took place in Philadelphia, Hartford, and Portland (OR), are part of our Pioneer Employers activities. They demonstrate the traction that our work has generated over the last two years.
More importantly, they show how – in collaboration with the Center for the Health Professions at UCSF – we can make progress on an issue of vital public concern. As experts across the political spectrum agree, rising health care costs threaten to bankrupt families, doctors and other providers, large and small businesses, and government at all levels. Thus, we must find ways to slow the growth in costs without sacrificing quality.
That means, among other things, promoting healthy habits and preventive care. America’s 13 million health care workers are central to this challenge – including over 6 million front-line workers such as medical assistants, nursing assistants, and community health workers – and we must ensure that they can address it as efficiently and effectively as possible.
With our support, the Center developed not just ideas but practical solutions. They identified 14 clinics across the country that improved care, cut costs, and generated better health outcomes for patients.
These clinics pointed to how they train and deploy medical assistants as a major – if not the main –factor in achieving these results. They showed how medical assistants (the “utility infielders” of primary care) can deliver health coaching and other services. By doing so, these workers free up doctors and nurses to focus on tasks that require more advanced training. That, in turn, cuts costs, boosts productivity, and improves health.
These efforts are vitally important. Today, 1,200 community clinics serve 20 million patients – and the patient total will likely double to 40 million in five years. Without more effective and efficient service, clinics will find themselves in the swirling waters of unmanageable demand and limited human and financial resources.
Now that we know how clinics can provide better care at lower costs, we must find ways to deploy the model as widely as possible. Fortunately, we’re on course to do our part in the months ahead, and the response has been very encouraging.
So, we’ve got a full slate of site visits, webinars, and other efforts slated for the fall. Through those activities, we are empowering the clinical workers we trained to disseminate their knowledge to a wider audience of colleagues across the country.
We’ll keep you posted on our progress.