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Better care, but where are the savings?


The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at how the Affordable Care Act is speeding changes in how hospitals treat people with chronic conditions.

For example, the Temple University Health System is part of a federal initiative with the Einstein Health System and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging on a care model called a “bridge coordinator.”

 The Inquirer says this program uses  social workers to “connect with patients in the hospital at risk of readmission, follow them post discharge and continue to check on them at home by phone.”

Steve Carson, Temple’s vice president for clinical integration, told The Inquirer that readmission rates for those ‘bridge coordinator’ patients fell 35 percent.

But, the paper said “While individual hospitals may see improvements in care and cost reductions, healthcare economist Uwe Reinhardt said it’s too soon to tell whether the U.S. health system  reforms are creating nationwide savings, although the changes may well be improving patients’ experiences.

“The process doesn’t work this quickly. We will probably need 10 years to determine its effectiveness. The problem with Americans is we are extremely impatient people and we don’t like to hear that some things take a lot longer to know,” he said.

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