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Patient Engagement Tips from Catholic Health Initiatives

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, June 5, 2014

The ACO Pilot
Barry Hoover, MD, CHIS's executive sponsor of one of the pilot ACO sites in Nebraska reported reduced readmissions and improved outcomes. Hoover is also vice president and chief medical officer of The Physician Network, a subsidiary of CHI. The Physician Network includes more than 50 locations with PCPs, specialists, as well as urgent care providers.

Hoover maintains that the early ACO pilot helped inform the organization's next step of treating its 20,000 employees in Nebraska as a defined population.

"Employees came after the success of pilot, definitely," says Hoover. "There was a change in philosophy from an illness model to a wellness model."

Health coaches emerged as a success key from the ACO pilots and Hoover incorporated the coaches into the employee model. The health coaches are RNs and available to employees for help on typical wellness initiatives such as encouraging smoking cessation, weight management, and stress reduction.

But the coaches are not passive wellness caretakers, they are an active part of the care team, which Hoover says physicians learned to appreciate after initial skepticism about including another provider in a patient's treatment.

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