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Integrated healthcare and ‘student hotspotting’


Camden City Hall. Camden is a very poor city but with an ambitious motto: “In a dream, I saw a city invincible”.

In this Lown Institute interview, Jeffrey Brenner, M.D., founder and executive director of the Camden (N.J.) Coalition of Healthcare Providers, discusses his reasons for hope that America’s inefficient and astronomically expensive healthcare system can be fundamentally improved.

Through the Camden Coalition, local stakeholders are working to build an integrated, health- delivery model to provide better care for Camden City residents.  Dr. Brenner will give a keynote address at the 2016 Lown Conference in Chicago on April 16.

Among his remarks:

“Health care is imbalanced in a number of ways. One of those is the way in which we medicalize and criminalize social problems. Right care starts with a much more holistic understanding of who our patients are, what drives their needs for health care, and what we need to do about it.”

“Another part of the imbalance is that we have a pretty big divide between the mental health system, the housing system, and the medical community.”

“The four fields of housing, behavioral health, addiction services, and primary care are going to need to reinvent how they think about what they do: how they train, how they hire, how they supervise.”

“I’m very optimistic about our ‘student hotspotting’ project. There are teams in 20 communities across the country, comprised of five to six students in public health, medicine, physical therapy or occupational therapy, social work, or nursing. Each group cares for three to five high cost patients, goes with patients to every appointment, and has a front row view of the incredible system dysfunctions. They’ve been extraordinarily good at beginning to build workarounds in the systems. The students receive training on harm reduction, motivational interviewing, how to work as teams, and leadership skills. They make me very hopeful for the future — that the next generation will be able to talk to each other in different ways, collaborate in different ways, and break down hierarchy.”

“We’re also having conversations inside of health care that we haven’t had before about the need to change payment and delivery models, and integrate behavioral health and addiction into delivery models. This gives me hope that we’re directionally correct, though we haven’t yet grappled with how hard this is going to be to fix.”

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