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So, how do we know team-based care works to improve patient care and reduce overall health care costs? Health care leaders like Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health System, Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Intermountain Healthcare are successfully using physician-led teams to achieve improved care and patient health, and reduced costs. Preliminary data released by a physician-led medical home that is partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan showed $310 million in savings since 2008, including $155 million saved in 2012 alone. This is just one of many examples of successful team-based care.
“Team-based care models of care — not independent models— are the future of health care,” said the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) and the American Medical Association (AMA) in a joint letter to the Pennsylvania Senate on April 14, 2014.
The letter was sent in support of two bills that further promote team-based care by establishing the Patient-Centered Medical Home Advisory Council Senate Bill 1083 and House Bill 1655), and in opposition to a bill that would allow certified registered nurse professionals (CRNPs) to practice independently (SB 1063).
SB 1083 and HB 1655 would ensure that all members of the health care team work together in a coordinated, efficient manner to achieve the triple aim in health care — ensure patients receive the highest quality of health care, at the lowest cost, resulting in the most optimal clinical outcomes.
“We believe that increased use of physician-led teams of multidisciplinary health care professionals will have a positive impact on the nation’s primary care needs,” said PAMED President Bruce MacLeod, MD, and AMA President Ardis D. Hoven, MD, in the letter.
“A team-based approach would include physicians and other health care professionals working together, sharing decisions and information, for the benefit of the patient.”
But, there are some bills being considered by the Pennsylvania General Assembly that go against this team-based approach. For example, SB 1063, which both PAMED and the AMA oppose, would eliminate provisions on integrated practice agreements between collaborating physicians and nurse practitioners.
“We believe that the changes proposed in SB 1063 will undermine the delivery of patient-centered, team-based care in Pennsylvania,” said Drs. MacLeod and Hoven. “Health care teams require leadership, just as teams do in business, government, sports, and schools. Physicians bring to the team the highest level of training and preparation and as such are the best suited to guide the other members of the team.”
“These two different approaches —independent practice and team-based care — take health policy in two very different directions. One approach would further compartmentalize and fragment health care delivery [independent practice]; the other would foster integration and coordination [team-based care].”
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