Monday, May 17, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
re 1 ami ns
targets patient health,
By DEVON THORSBY
Daily News Editor
Signed into law by President Barack
Obama earlier this year, the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act
is the centerpiece of the administra-
tion's agenda for health care reform.
However, concerns over the potential
financial burden imposed by the act's
provisions have led the legislation's
critics to question its feasibility.
But a new mentoring program for
physicians and hospitals could silence
critics by lowering the cost of health
care reform without compromising
universal coverage to all American
Michigan Transitions of Care Col-
laborative - known as MTC2 - is a
system spearheaded by the University,
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
and the Society of Hospital Medicine
that aims to improve the transition
from in-patient to out-patient care,
reducing patient re-admission to hos-
Comprised of 15 physicians' organi-
zations and 14 partnering hospitals,
MTC2 is based on a system created
by the Society of Hospital Medicine,
called Project Better Outcomes for
Older Adults through Safer Transi-
tions, which focuses on the education
and development of medicine, spe-
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cifically in a hospital setting.
Project BOOST, which aims to
improve the care of elderly patients
who move between hospitals and
their homes, began its pilot mentor-
ing program in fall 2008. Now imple-
mented in hospitals nationwide, the
program was initially designed to
reduce hospital re-admission rates
in the 30-day period after the ini-
tial release, improve communication
between in-patient and out-patient
facilities and increase patient satis-
David Share, the executive medi-
cal director of Blue Cross Blue Shield
of Michigan, said the collaboration
between the three institutions is
essential to the creation of a truly
interconnected health care system for
the state of Michigan.
"The reason we got involved was to
bring people together, to convene them
and set the stage," Share said. "(We
wanted) to help them work together
and to find the best approach."
Share said the Society of Hospi-
tal Medicine's work through Project
BOOST has worked to improve health
care systems by prioritizing both
patient health and reduced health care
"The hope is that people will take
the expertise that already exists and
the BOOST project in particular to
work together across hospitals to find
the best way to discharge people from
hospitals," Share said.
Accordingto Share, Blue Cross Blue
Shield has partnered with the Society
of Hospital Medicine fairly regularly
since 1997 on various multi-collabor-
ative projects, which were typically
focused on physician practices. In a
similar vein, MTC2 is designed to cre-
ate a better link between physicians'
practices and hospitals.
"There is a wide recognition that
there are problems with hand-offs,
with the hospital in-patient environ-
ment and the out-patient environ-
ment," he said.
Unplanned re-admission to hos-
pitals throughout the United States
costs Medicare $17.4 billion each year,
according to a May 13 Blue Cross Blue
Shield press release. The cost esti-
mates increase after consideration of
patient re-admission not covered by
Christopher Kim, program direc-
tor for MTC2 and clinical assistant
professor of internal medicine at the
University, said in a phone interview
on Friday that the goal of the col-
laboration is to streamline the use
of resources within the hospital to
improve the health of patients before
"When patients leave the hospital,
it's oftentimes considered a phase in
which patients still may have ongo-
ing needs," he said. "They need to get
back to their primary care provider in
a safe and easy way."
Kim said the work to organize the
collaborative began in the fall last
year, with calls to physicians' organi-
zations interested in participating in
In March of this year, the collab-
orative selected specific physicians'
organizations and partnering hospi-
tals from the applicant pool, focus-
ing on their abilities to implement
the program and represent different
regions of Michigan, according to
Kim said the first training confer-
ence for the participating physicians'
organizations began this past Mon-
day, consisting of two days of educa-
tion seminars led by experts from the
Society of Hospital Medicine.
"The goal of this collaborative is to
learn together, to provide better, safer
and more quality care throughout
Michigan," said Kim.
Kim added that the next phase of
MTC2 will likely begin this winter or
early next year.
"We certainly do hope that other
organizations throughout the state
will want to be part of this collabora-
tive," Kim said.
Share said if the program is proper-
ly implemented, it could not only make
the health care system more efficient
but also sufficient.
"People won't fall through the
cracks," Share said. "They won't get
sick afterwards, they won't miss
follow-up appointments and they'll
overall be healthier after receiving the
treatment they need."
While other mentoring programs
have been developed in the past to
improve medical systems, Kim said
MTC2 is the first to apply to both phy-
sicians' care and hospitals on a large
"This is a very unique thing about
the state of Michigan," he said. "As far
as we know, there are no other states
that are doing this. We feel we can
pave the way and show how this can
be done in a successful way...through-
out the country."
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