Funding Supports Studies on Coordinating Health Care Services

Aetna and the Aetna Foundation awarded $750,000 in grants for three studies, including one analyzing the communication between home health nurses and physicians caring for recently hospitalized Medicare patients with congestive heart failure.

Aetna and the Aetna Foundation announced they have awarded $750,000 in grants for three separate studies examining the impact on patients' health of better communication among health care providers and increased coordination of health care services. The studies explore coordination as a key strategy to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

"These three studies, which examine care coordination in different health care settings and among different populations, will provide us with much-needed understanding of coordinated care," said Gillian Barclay, D.D.S., Dr.P.H., vice president of the foundation. "The more precisely we can envision what coordinated care looks like and how best to weave it into the everyday delivery of health care, the closer we can get to an optimal delivery of care that produces the best outcomes at the lowest cost."

Grants of $250,000 each went to Community Health Center, Inc. (Middletown, Conn.) to study coordinated care in a Federally Qualified Health Center; Weill Cornell Medical College (New York, N.Y.) to examine the role of visiting nurses in care coordination; and the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (Washington, D.C.) to analyze better ways to coordinate care for adolescents.

According to Aetna, care coordination is often defined as a patient-centered, integrated, interdisciplinary approach.

Community Health Center, Inc. will develop and validate a measurement toolkit to evaluate care coordination for primary care practices that provide outpatient care for underserved populations.

The Weill Cornell Medical College's study in collaboration with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York will analyze communication between home health nurses and physicians caring for recently hospitalized Medicare patients with congestive heart failure.

The National Assembly on School-Based Health Care will examine existing health care coordination for adolescents, who often receive their primary care from multiple providers, including school health centers. This research will be conducted in five disparate communities and is headed by NASBHC President Linda Juszczak, D.N.Sc., M.P.H., M.S., C.P.N.P.

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