The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that an astounding “117 million adults have one or more chronic health conditions.” The time to address the quality of care that these individuals are receiving is now, and it is important. Patients who are battling chronic illness are not getting the help they need for a multitude of reasons. Whether it be lack of understanding, lack of resources or a lack of access, patients with chronic conditions are in desperate need of care coordination services. In 2015, CMS started paying providers to offer care coordination services to their patients who were eligible for Chronic Care Management (CCM) to motivate providers to focus more time on these individuals. Since then, patients utilizing CCM have received a higher quality care as well as lead more independent lives than ever before. Care coordination services save lives and here is how.
Care coordination is the connection to different care and services that bridge the gaps for patients in their care continuum. Through monthly coordinated phone calls or visits, providers are able to make sure their patient’s needs are being met, even the ones patients don’t think to ask for. Care coordination services offer eligible patients holistic care that connects them to their physician, specialists, pharmacies, their community, and much more.
1) Greater Understanding
One thing that continuously happens to patients with multiple chronic conditions is that they may not completely understand what their diagnoses mean and what their responsibility is to it. Through care coordination, patients connect with someone who helps them to better their understanding of their condition. They help them to better understand their symptoms and know what is normal versus what needs medical attention. They also help patients to better understand their medication, the importance of taking it, what happens when they do not take it, and why they were prescribed it. This kind of understanding gives patients a sense of empowerment that makes them want to face their condition head-on. Increased patient engagement is important if providers want their patients to succeed and care coordination helps.
2) Medication Assistance
It can be frustrating for providers when their patients don’t take their medication. If patients would just take their medication, they might feel some of their symptoms start to alleviate. The truth as to why some patients are not taking their medication is because they cannot afford it. Patients who receive care coordination services are offered prescription assistance when possible, which means they are offered more affordable options for their medications that were otherwise unaffordable. When patients can not only understand why their prescriptions are important but afford them as well, they are more likely to stay compliant with them. Also, care coordination services can serve as a checkpoint to make sure that patients do not have any discrepancies regarding their medications and are only taking the ones they should be taking. This is another way that care coordination services save lives.
3) Community Connection
An inadvertent consequence for patients battling chronic conditions is that they become somewhat isolated from their communities. Even if this is not the case for everyone, most people are not aware of resources within their community that can help them manage their chronic condition. Care coordination services offer patients a means to get plugged into these resources and utilize them. Examples of community resources could include third-party organizations that focus on any specific condition, educational resources, or even support groups. Through these resources, patients are not only better able to manage their conditions but are also connected to their greater community, helping them to feel less alone and empowering them to take control of their condition.
Care coordination services help to better educate patients and empower them through greater understanding. It helps them to better afford their prescriptions so that they do not have to think twice about whether to take them. And they help patients to connect to their community to receive an elevated level of care outside of their normal provider. Care coordination does more than just offer patients better services, care coordination services save lives.
Interested in care coordination services for your practice? Contact us! We’ll provide information & answer any questions you may have.