Nurses Uniquely Suited To Be Care Coordinators

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , April 30, 2013

Duni was part of the first cohort of that program, which aims to provide at least 200 New Jersey nurses with a formal population care coordinator education. She says the two-pronged program started at Duke, where participants learned about the tenets and history of population care coordination, and ended at Rutgers, where the students applied their learning to hands-on work.

Care coordination is gaining traction, but in order for it to really catch on and for more nurses to get into the field, payers need to come forward with payment plans for it, Duni says.

For example, Eileen Carlson, RN, JD, associate director of government affairs for the American Nurses Association, told me last year that a new Medicare rule that will pay nurses when they help patients make the successful transition from hospitals to other settings is one of the biggest things ever to happen in the world of coordinated care.

By all accounts, care coordination pays off for patients, who benefit from the help they receive in scheduling appointments, managing medication, and monitoring health.

Also significant is the payoff for providers and payers. Duni also says that data from one of the acute care facilities they work with shows that the readmission rate for Vanguard Medical Group is significantly lower than for their peer practices.

At the end of the day, care coordination carries with it a simple principle for a complicated role: "Get in there early and often to help patients find ways of being engaged in their care," Duni says.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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