2015 News

MHN Network Decreases Readmissions

December 2015

The healthcare system in Chicago is fragmented as care is provided by a number of entities with little or no communication taking place between them. The Medical Home Network (MHN) in Chicago www.mhnchicago.org uses technology to communicate enabling healthcare teams to more effectively improve communications with patients in the region.

MHN helps deliver better healthcare to Medicaid patients by using a patient-centered and team-based model of care. According to data from MHNConnect's www.mhnconnect.com web-based care coordination tool, it was found that the team approach to healthcare plus using up-to-date and innovative communication technologies has lowered hospital readmissions, shortened the length of hospital stays, increased follow-up visits with providers, and reduced costs.

MHNConnect was the first technology of its kind to be implemented across disparate entities such as hospitals and primary care practices in Illinois. This technology enables providers and care teams to access to real time and historical data and receive immediate patient activity alerts. Today MHNConnect continues to expand and is currently providing integrated connectivity for 20 hospitals and more than 170 primary care practices.

MHNConnect cares for 170,000 Medicaid patients in Chicago. The facilities utilizing MHNConnect include a number of FQHCs, along with the Mount Sinai Medical Center www.sinai.org, St. Anthony Hospital www.sahchicago.org, Cook County Hospital and Hospital System, www.cookcountyhhs.org, Holy Cross Hospital www.holycrosshospital.org, and La Rabida Children's Hospital www.larabida.org.

"Having access to real time information and up-to-the-minute details pertaining to the patient's health care utilization is invaluable," said Arthur Jones, MD, Chief Medical Officer of MHN and longtime practicing physician on Chicago's West side.

Originally posted on Federal Telemedicine News.



Medical Home Network Achieves Significant Decrease in Hospital Readmissions and Increase in Follow-Up Care through Innovative Care Coordination Exchange
First technology of its kind in Illinois, MHNConnect's innovative connectivity creates care management without boundaries, improving health care delivery

Chicago IL, November 2015

PRNewswire -- In Chicago, Medical Home Network is changing the way health care is being delivered to Medicaid patients through innovative technology combined with a highly efficient, patient-centered, team-based model of care.

This model is being implemented in concert with MHNConnect, a secure web-based care coordination tool that allows real-time data sharing between various entities, like hospitals and primary care practices, effectively connecting care coordinators across the city and bridging gaps in care. As the first technology of its kind to be implemented across disparate entities in Illinois, MHNConnect now enables providers and care teams access to real-time and historical data, plus immediate patient activity alerts, prompting them to log into the system. This marks a major improvement in health care, resulting in better, more informed decision-making at the point of care, plus faster, more coordinated care transitions for patients across the continuum.

The reach of MHNConnect continues to expand and is currently providing integrated connectivity for 20 hospitals and more than 170 primary care practices.
"MHNConnect's connectivity is transforming the way providers collaborate to deliver better care at a lower cost," said Cheryl Lulias, president and executive director of Medical Home Network. "This care model is transforming the way health care is delivered because we are now breaking down the four walls of the doctor's office and extending care delivery to our patients and the entire health care community linked on MHNConnect."

An examination of the data from two years of MHNConnect's implementation (2012-2013) versus a baseline year (2011), reveals there was a significant decrease in hospital readmissions and a substantial increase in timely follow-up visits with primary care doctors among the pioneer early-adopters - specifically six Federally Qualified Health Centers and six hospital systems caring for 170,000 Medicaid patients. Comparing performance year one (2012) to the previous year (baseline), Medical Home Network's partner hospitals and clinics recorded a 12.4 percent reduction in hospital readmissions (within 30 days of being discharged) in year one and 24.8 percent reduction in year two (2013). The number of inpatient hospital days decreased 3.7 percent from baseline in year one and 24.4 percent from baseline in year two. The average length of stay decreased 5.1 percent from baseline in year one and 20.2 percent from baseline in year two. Finally, the cost of care per member per month, decreased 3.3 percent from baseline in year one and 5.0 percent from baseline in year two.
"Data has proven MHNConnect to be a highly efficient and reliable care coordination tool, giving care teams access to their patients' pertinent information and activity, which helps provide a better understanding of the health care history and utilization throughout the system," said Anthony Perry, MD, chief medical officer of Rush University Medical Group, which has been using MHNConnect since its introduction. "Providing that information to physicians empowers them to understand and meet their patients' needs and make the best health care decisions for those patients."

The extended care delivery facilitated by MHNConnect is exemplified by the story of a 34 year-old man, who up until the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, had no medical coverage. After January of 2014, he was assigned to Rush University Medical Group for his primary care. A nurse care coordinator received a real-time alert, logged into the portal, and was able to track his health care usage in the MHNConnect system. The man, who suffers from COPD, diabetes, and sleep apnea was in and out of the emergency department at several hospitals in order to receive care. The care coordinator was able to contact the man and assign him to a primary care physician for his overall care, a pulmonologist for his COPD and dietician for his diabetes. Two days later, she was surprised to receive a MHNConnect real-time alert saying he was in Stroger Hospital's emergency room. He was there to get his blood pressure and glucose levels checked. At this point, he didn't realize that he could have contacted, or even walked into, his medical home at his primary care clinic. The nurse explained this to him and he is now on track to improve his health care, knowing he has a care team he can access at any time. The nurse worked with him to establish a plan and for the first time in his life, he has a health record that his doctor, specialists and care team can review in order to best help him.

The example of this man's improved patient experience, and reduced reliance on Emergency Room care, is part of a growing trend brought about in large part by the providers and care teams who have adopted the use of MHNConnect.
"Having access to real-time information and up-to-the-minute details pertaining to each patient's health care utilization is invaluable," said Arthur Jones, MD, chief medical officer of Medical Home Network and longtime practicing physician on Chicago's West side. "Analysis reveals that now, for each Chicago Medicaid patient going to the hospital for a health problem, one out of every three will make a follow-up visit to their primary care physician after hospital discharge. That's a big step in the right direction for health care in Chicago."

The successful incorporation of technology into Medical Home Network's hospitals and clinics is now being applied to the Medical Home Network (MHN) ACO, working with Cook County Health and Hospitals System's managed care program, CountyCare, garnering similar results and signaling the future use of technology to deliver affordable and efficient quality health care.

About Medical Home Network
Medical Home Network is a Chicago-based health care collaborative devoted to transforming health care delivery for Chicago Medicaid patients by fostering collaboration and innovation among safety net providers. The Medical Home Network collaborative consists of leaders from 12 health care organizations, who continue to have an equal voice in the decision-making process. In addition, Medical Home Network has grown its connectivity to 20 hospitals and more than 170 primary care entities, using MHNConnect to enable information exchange among providers and monitoring of patient hospital utilization by care managers. The Medical Home Network portal captures approximately 60 percent of member patient activity as it occurs, benefitting the overall health care for almost 200,000 Chicago-area Medicaid patients. More information is available at www.MHNChicago.org.

About Safety Net Connect
Since 2009, Safety Net Connect (SNC) has partnered with public and private organizations to provide a multitude of successful and nationally recognized web-based healthcare solutions for underserved and safety net populations. SNC's innovative solutions have reached over 5 million patients from clients such as Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS), MedPoint, LA Care, Orange County Healthcare Agency, CalOptima, San Diego Healthcare Agency, and Cook County MHN (an Illinois Medicaid Project). www.safetynetconnect.com



Safety Net Connect and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Awarded Top Honor with Innovations in HealthcareSM Abby Award
eConsult Health Information Technology Recognized for Improving Care Coordination and Increasing Access to Specialty Care in Los Angeles Safety Net Population

Newport Beach CA, October 2015

Safety Net Connect (SNC) is pleased to announce that its eConsult partnership with Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS) has received the top honor with the Diamond ABBY Award for Innovations in HealthcareSM from the Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization.

The ABBY Award honors companies using innovative approaches to the delivery of healthcare while reducing cost and increasing quality. The SNC/LADHS eConsult collaboration was selected as an ABBY Award Winner by secret ballot at the October ABL Awards Event. ABL members are C-suite executives and healthcare leaders from across the state of California.

"We are honored to be recognized by ABL and their membership of healthcare leaders for our partnership with LADHS," said Chris Cruttenden, president of SNC. "We are equally honored to have been a part of bringing specialty care to thousands of underserved LA county residents. We look forward to continuing to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare and improving health equity among LA residents with LADHS and their community partners."

About eConsult
The eConsult system provides primary care physicians (PCPs) an easy-to-use care coordination system that effectively triages access to specialty care providers. The first 3 years of eConsult use has successfully increased the LADHS population's access to timely specialty care - reducing the average wait time for a routine specialty appointment by 60 percent.

Processing approximately 13,000 eConsults monthly, LADHS eConsult covers 58 specialties and has successfully reduced specialist response time for the LA safety net population to 2.7 calendar days. Allowing patients to receive care from their PCP in their medical home means less time away from work or family responsibilities and fewer transportation costs. In addition, timely care reduces disease progression and the need for patients to seek alternative care options such as urgent care and ER visits.

About Adaptive Business Leaders Organization
Since 1989, the Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization has helped its Members grow great companies through its monthly Healthcare and Technology CEO Round Tables throughout California. Members leverage each other's skills, expertise, and connections in a confidential, personal advisory board setting. http://www.abl.org.

About Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS) is the second largest municipal health system in the nation. The LADHS mission is to ensure access to high-quality, patient-centered, cost-effective health care to Los Angeles County residents through direct services at DHS facilities and through collaboration with community and university partners. www.dhs.lacounty.gov

About Safety Net Connect
Since 2009, Safety Net Connect (SNC) has partnered with public and private organizations to provide a multitude of successful and nationally recognized web-based healthcare solutions for underserved and safety net populations. SNC's innovative solutions have reached over 5 million patients from clients such as Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS), MedPoint, LA Care, Orange County Healthcare Agency, CalOptima, San Diego Healthcare Agency, and Cook County MHN (an Illinois Medicaid Project). www.safetynetconnect.com

SNC Media Contact:
Kristine Nash-Wong
734-780-7001
Kristine.nash.wong@safetynetconnect.com



Winners of ABL Organization's 16th Innovations in HealthcareSM Announced
LADHS and Safety Net Connect Win Diamond Award for eConsult Platform!

October 2015

Paul Giboney, MD, Director of Specialty Care for Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, and Chris Cruttenden, President of Safety Net Connect received the Diamond ABBY Award for their eConsult system to increase specialty care access for the Los Angeles safety net population. eConsult was deployed initially for 18 months in 2011 with the LA Care Health Plan and LACDHS. Since October 2013, LACDHS has expanded the program in its network of hospitals and clinics. eConsult provides primary care physicians (PCPs) with an easy-to-use care coordination system that effectively triages access to specialty care. When PCPs send a secure request for a specialist consult, eConsult's built-in decision support and referral guidelines help ensure all of the necessary information is provided - allowing for a more qualified peer-to-peer consultation.

Read the full article



DHS Specialty Care News, Fall

October 2015

In this newsletter:

  • Specialty care coordination across county departments
  • eConsult and ORCHID integration means consults are synced with EMRs
  • New Expected Practices now on the DHS Clinical Care Library

Read the newsletter



eConsults: Telemedicine for our Neediest Populations

September 2015

By Mark Masselli, originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse

Two articles caught my eye today.  The first was an issue brief from the Commonwealth Fund, which focused on the strength of America's premier primary care safety net: community health centers.  The article evaluated those health centers who had adopted the  Patient Centered Medical Home ( PCMH) model of care.  The study looks at the period from 2009 to 2013 and makes the observation that on almost all metrics, capability has improved dramatically  - except in providing access to specialty care. In particular for Medicaid and uninsured patients who make up 75% of the patient population, community health centers showed declines in obtaining specialist or subspecialist appointments and procedures.    

In the WSJ there was an article about Google's investment in a health insurance startup.  The company will be giving free unlimited telemedicine services to their patients with phone access to a physician within 10 minutes.  A Google official noted "What we're excited about is companies that can transform the cost curve through technology".  There's been lots of investment activity like this recently in telemedicine, mostly in the private sector.  Unfortunately, few of these investments are focused in on America's most needy population, which is disappointing as change in this space has global implications.  Community Health Centers are often  left without financial capital, so we need to bring our intellectual capital to the table to see what we can accomplish.

At our Community Health Center, we've developed the Weitzman Institute, an organization dedicated to inspiring primary care innovation.  One of our initiatives is working on ways to use telemedicine to provide access to specialists for this population.  We are rolling out an eConsult network, initially in New England, and then across the country.  We start by sending the data and not the patient for the consultation. We've based this on the work of Dr. Mitch Katz, Director of the LA health county system.  Seven years ago, Dr. Mitch Katz spoke at our Weitzman Symposium about his pioneering work in San Francisco.

Soon after meeting Mitch we undertook a clinical trial with eConsults in Cardiology.  Our finding -- that an initial specialist consultant screen provided substantial benefit to the patient, provider, and system -- will be soon published in The Annals of Family Medicine. Most importantly our State Medicaid agency has recently agreed to reimburse us for the econsults.  Our hope is that their leadership will bring other state Medicaid agencies to the table.

We'd love to hear about your perspective on how to improve access to specialist care for those at community health centers - I can be reached at mark@chc1.com or reach out to Dr. Daren Anderson, head of the Weitzman Institute, at daren@chc1.com



eConsult Named as Finalist for the 2015 ABBY Awards
Winners to be Chosen October 21 in Long Beach

Santa Ana CA, September 2015

Nine innovative healthcare companies (listed below) will compete for the 2015 ABBY Awards, at the 16th Innovations in HealthcareSM Awards Event, on October 21, 2015, in Long Beach. The Event, presented by the Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization, recognizes innovative organizations and individuals who are dramatically reducing the cost of quality healthcare.

The ABBY Awards honor companies, selected from throughout the country, which have developed ways to lower the cost of providing quality healthcare through their medical or information technologies, or innovative approaches to the delivery of healthcare. The nine Finalists were selected by a Committee of "Champions" and judges, composed of ABL Members who are C-level healthcare executives with deep domain knowledge in each of the Award areas.

Mimi Grant, President of ABL, and creator of the Innovations Awards Event 16 years ago, commented: "All nine ABBY Award Finalists truly are exceptional. In fact, this year - more than any other in recent memory - all 37 of the Semi-Finalists were exceptionally impressive, as well. To have made it past the nomination process (where a number of companies were eliminated) to the Semi-Finals, ABBY Award nominees had to present metrics that proved that their health IT or telecom solution, medical device, or approach to the delivery of healthcare was addressing a major health issue, with an innovative solution, that was approved for use in the U.S. market, and - most important - had significant clinical and/or financial metrics that prove their product or service is reducing the cost of providing quality care. Increasingly, it will be innovative companies like these that will not only win ABBY Awards, but will be big winners as the healthcare industry shifts from 'volume to value.'"

Three ABBY Award Winners will be chosen by secret ballot following live presentations made by the chief executives of the nine Finalist organizations at the Awards Event. The ABBY Award judges will be the senior healthcare executives in attendance at the Event, held at the Long Beach Marriott, on October 21. Attendance is open to all ABL Members, as well as non-Member senior executives of healthcare providers, payers, health IT, medical technology, and services firms.

More details about the Innovations in HealthcareSM Leadership and ABBY Awards Event can be found at http://roundtables.abl.org/health/events/innovations-in-healthcare/

ABBY Award Finalists are:

St. Louis, MO's Advanced ICU Care's remote ICU patient monitoring solution serves hospitals with state-of-the-art technology that provides a constant stream of patient-centric health data, along with smart algorithms and U.S.-board certified intensivist and critical care nursing resources. Advanced ICU Care brings 24/7/365 intensivist-led ICU patient care to a broad range of hospitals, freeing budget-constrained facilities from the requirement to incrementally invest in constant bedside staffing. Patients benefit from proactive clinical attention by critical care specialists who are always informed and always on duty. Advanced ICU Care collaborates with bedside care teams to deliver the best possible care to patients, and initiates rapid action for patients in need.

Aliso Viejo, CA's Crossover Health Inc. combines leading-edge technologies and contemporary healthcare facilities focused on patient experience, providing employers with a new model of healthcare for their workers. Crossover provides innovative onsite and near-site clinics that provide personalized healthcare experiences. Comprehensive primary care, physical therapy, health coaches, and behaviorists work together to focus on patient outcomes. In addition, the team also provides a multi-disciplinary Proactive Approach To Health course, which has resulted in stress reduction, increased exercise, and improvement in quality of sleep. By focusing on enhanced primary and preventative healthcare as part of employee benefits, improved employee health positively affects a company's productivity and bottom line.

Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LADHS) and Newport Beach, CA's Safety Net Connect have teamed on an eConsult system to increase specialty care access for the Los Angeles safety net population. eConsult was deployed initially for 18 months in 2011 with the LA Care Health Plan and LADHS. Since October 2013, LADHS has expanded the program in its network of hospitals and clinics. eConsult provides primary care physicians (PCPs) with an easy-to-use care coordination system that effectively triages access to specialty care. When PCPs send a secure request for a specialist consult, eConsult's built-in decision support and referral guidelines help ensure all of the necessary information is provided - allowing for a more qualified peer-to-peer consultation.

San Francisco, CA's SpineZone has perfected a reliable, non-operative, and comprehensive back pain management methodology that is administered by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, physical therapists, physician assistants, and spine rehabilitation specialists. Patients are guided through their recovery with a fixed-length, customized program that employs computerized equipment, behavioral medicine, and highly trained practitioners to strengthen the isolated muscles of the back, and improve posture and flexibility. Providers rely on SpineZone because it uses the right healthcare resources at the right time, essentially eliminating overtreatment and reducing the costs of treating chronic back pain patients 25% below the national average.

Woodland Hills, CA's Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)'s Skills program is a web-based system for designing and implementing comprehensive treatment plans for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that are tailored to meet each patient's specific needs. Skills includes a well-validated assessment that covers age-appropriate skills across eight developmental domains, and with its accompanying Skills LogBook app, enables users to collect ongoing treatment data, intuitively tracking treatment progress via easy-to-read graphs and charts. Skills supports treatment plan development and implementation, processes clinicians would otherwise spend hours performing, and improves user efficiency on many levels, both reducing treatment costs and allowing clinicians to treat more patients.

Aliso Viejo, CA's CNS Response, Inc. serves the mental health industry with their PEER (Psychiatric Encephalographic Evaluation Registry) Report, which was developed by physicians to provide objective information about medication response for similar patients. PEER combines a "crowdsourced" physician outcome registry with EEG, an accepted, well-normed test of brain function. The PEER Report provides the prescriber with adjunctive information which, based on the outcomes of patients with similar EEG attributes, can help guide the selection of medications which are most likely to work and those which should be avoided. PEER provides the prescriber with objective, personalized information for the patient and, therefore, the use of trial-and-error prescribing is reduced.

Mountain View, CA's drchrono's mobile EHR was voted the #1 iPad EHR three years in a row by Black Book and is also available on clinicians' iPhones and Apple Watches. Over 70,000 clinicians use drchrono, which addresses the needs of today's small- to mid-size physican practices by providing comprehensive EHR, practice management, and medical billing and revenue cycle management solutions that include scheduling, reminders, clinical documentation, the ability to order labs and Rx, and a patient portal. With an open API, drchrono can integrate with other apps and various labs, enabling providers to view results in real-time. All of its EHR and managed billing services are ICD-10 ready. Individual physicians can access the "Asclepius" starter plan for free, allowing them to access drchrono's basic features.

Irvine, CA's Harbor Health Systems' Harbor One Medical Provider Network (MPN) serves companies' workers compensation needs with an immediately available network of high-performing physicians covering the entire state of California. Through Harbor's Care Concierge service, these physicians and patients are connected to top providers of ancillary services. Harbor's OnTrack service continually guides the injured worker's MPN participation throughout the case, to be sure the care plan is always on track and moving towards a fast and complete recovery. Harbor Health Systems' MPN clients experience cost savings of up to 20% with Harbor's outcomes-based networks and its proprietary scoring technology, as well as additional savings through reduced litigation and increased productivity.

Cranbury, NJ's PeriGen Inc.'s PeriCALM Checklist is a real-time bedside IT application designed to enhance clinician efficiency, consistency, and timely recognition of impending problems in maternal labor. Its analytic software reads the tracing used to monitor fetal heart rate and contractions, and its pattern recognition component identifies and measures the features that clinicians use to guide the use of oxytocin (which is used to induce contractions in over half of U.S. births). PeriCALM notifies clinicians when the tracing analysis exceeds predefined criteria established by the clinical institution, and color-coded long-term displays let clinicians see trends at a glance. For labor and delivery nurses, the PeriCALM Checklist reduces tedious repetitive calculations so they can focus more time on clinical judgement and care.

Past ABBY Award Winners

Previous ABBY Award Winners include numerous companies that have made breakthroughs and transformative advances in medical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, information technology, and electronic solutions, as well as organizations that have applied innovative systems and technology to providing care and coverage, decreasing the numbers of uninsured, and engaging healthcare consumers more actively in their care and health status - all with a view to reducing the cost of quality care.

About the Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization
Since 1989, the Adaptive Business Leaders Organization (ABL) has helped its Members grow great companies through its Healthcare CEO Round Tables. Each month, Members leverage each other's skills, expertise, and connections, in a confidential, personal advisory board setting. During each session, Members share best practices with their non-competitive peers as they share "What's Up?" and tackle topics like: "Reducing the Spend on the Medically Needy 5%," "Implications of Expanded Medi-Cal for You ," "Creating a Culture of Accountability," and "The App Will See You Now." Also, each session has a Featured Member or Guest Speaker who makes a Strategic Advisory Board presentation, imparting valuable insights and in return receiving leveraged feedback from the Group.

ABL Members are also encouraged to attend frequent ABL Workshops and Conferences. The largest of these is the Innovations in HealthcareSM ABBY Awards Event. Other events held in 2015 include the 12th annual Top Tech Trends, "Developing an Effective Board of Directors for Growing Companies," "Beginning with the End in Mind," and Member Socials in both Northern and Southern California. In addition to the Members' peer mentors, each Round Table's professional facilitator serves as an objective business advisor, offering executive and industry insights.

ABL's Healthcare Round Tables are held in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Oakland. ABL's separate Technology Round Tables, launched in 1983, are held throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. More information about and testimonials from ABL Members can be found at http://www.abl.org.

Contacts:
Laura Grant, Events Director, at 714/245-1427, or Janet Rich, Publications Manager, at 509/481-7461



L.A. Care eConnect Uses Safety Net Connect's Platform to Facilitate Electronic Communication of Hospital Census Data for Care Coordination
L.A. Care eConnect Pilot Success Prompts Large-Scale Rollout to High-Volume Hospitals and Provider Organizations across Los Angeles County to Improve Care Coordination and Discharge Management

Newport Beach CA, August 2015

Safety Net Connect (SNC), a leading provider of innovative web-based healthcare solutions for organizations assisting underserved populations, is pleased to announce that its platform is used by L.A. Care Health Plan (L.A. Care) for improved coordination of hospital census data between plan providers and hospitals. The platform aims to improve patient care by connecting and getting real-time data.

L.A. Care eConnect is based on SNC's proprietary eCEDA platform, which won a competitive request for proposal (RFP) in 2014. A yearlong pilot was conducted by L.A. Care to measure the platform's efficacy in facilitating the electronic communication of daily census data between L.A. Care and select network hospitals.

Based on successful pilot outcomes, SNC has been granted a three-year extendable contract during which the L.A. Care eConnect program will gain participation from high-volume L.A. County hospital organizations and high-volume Independent Physician Associations (IPAs), Management Services Organizations (MSOs), and Practice Partner Groups (PPGs). Through a custom-designed, secure online "census portal," Provider Organizations access daily census reports for the purpose of concurrent review and care coordination - especially post-discharge management to improve care and reduce avoidable readmissions.

"With the experience of bringing up hospital connections in both Orange County, California and the Chicago Metro area, we have seen the value of the early communication evolve to become an integral first step of the overall care coordination effort of the patient," says Keith Matsutsuyu, CEO of Safety Net Connect.

"As part of our efforts to continually streamline the delivery of care for our members, we're pleased to leverage technology like SNC's eConnect," says L.A. Care CEO John Baackes. "The platform's ability to provide our medical management nurses with complete and timely information, while conveniently facilitating concurrent data review between disparate locations, has translated to better care coordination as well as lower administrative costs."

About L.A. Care
L.A. Care Health Plan (Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County) is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of health coverage programs including L.A. Care Covered™, Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan, L.A. Care's Healthy Kids and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan. L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With more than 1.7 million members, L.A. Care is the nation's largest publicly operated health plan. http://www.lacare.org/

L.A. Care Media Contact:
Len Rosenthal
213-694-1250 x 4712
lrosenthal@lacare.org

About Safety Net Connect
Since 2009, Safety Net Connect (SNC) has partnered with public and private organizations to provide a multitude of successful and nationally recognized web-based healthcare solutions for underserved and safety net populations. SNC's innovative solutions have reached over 5 million patients from clients such as Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LADHS), MedPoint, LA Care, Orange County Healthcare Agency, CalOptima, San Diego Healthcare Agency, and Cook County MHN (an Illinois Medicaid Project). www.safetynetconnect.com

SNC Media Contact:
Kristine Nash-Wong
734-780-7001
Kristine.Nash.Wong@safetynetconnect.com



DHS Specialty Care News, Summer

July 2015

In this newsletter:

  • DHS Clinical Care Library now contains more than 100 resources
  • Forums for eConsult held thanks to grant from Blue Shield
  • Special thanks to highly responsive and high volume Specialty Reviewers!

Read the newsletter



Los Angeles County Sees Success with eConsult Program
Online tools enable primary care physicians, specialists to communicate more seamlessly

May 2015

By Katie Dvorak

As it becomes more difficult to book appointments with specialists, doctors in the U.S. are turning to the Web to help speed the process for patients.

In Los Angeles County, local officials created a program called eConsult to streamline the referral process. The program, in use at L.A. Care Health Plan, allows for interaction online between physicians and specialists to exchange medical records and images, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

The program was implemented three years ago, and while it hasn't solved all problems, things have improved because of it, according to KHN.

Through the program, clinicians use guidelines to find out who needs immediate face-to-face appointments with specialists. Those who can wait continue to receive care from their primary care physician through electronic means.

Some issues remain, however, such as patients still requiring face-to-face appointments with specialists and the dearth of ones available to see.

The effort did show that about 30 percent of patients did not need to see a specialist in person, and it now offers physicians a way to communicate with specialists more easily, according to the article. What's more, the program has shown promise to be a model throughout the U.S., with leaders in Illinois, Alaska and Connecticut showing interested in it, L.A. County Specialty Care Director Paul Giboney, M.D., tells KHN.

Similarly, researchers in Canada also saw success with their own regional Web-based e-consultation service called Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialists through e-consultation).

In addition, an electronic system installed at Tacoma, Washington-based Franciscan Health System allows employees there to undergo routine medical consultations from the privacy of their own homes.



California Healthline Discusses Benefits, Challenges of eConsult
L.A. E-Referral System Could Be a Model for Improving Access to Care

Los Angeles CA, May 2015

A Los Angeles County electronic referral system could help to improve access to care amid a shortage of specialists in California and accross the country. Some providers have expressed concern that primary care physicians who use the system are not paid for extra services a specialist might request. Still, Paul Giboney, Los Angeles County's specialty care director, said the eConsult program still could become a national model.

Read the full article



Los Angeles Daily News on eConsult Program
With Specialists in Short Supply, L.A. County Turns to e-Consulting

Los Angeles CA, May 2015

Doctors called it the black hole.

If their low-income or uninsured patients needed specialty care, they put in a referral to the massive Los Angeles County health care bureaucracy and then waited - for weeks or even months. It could take eight months to see a neurologist, more than three to see a cardiologist.

With a million patients a year depending on Los Angeles County for health care, local officials decided they had to act. Hiring scores of costly specialists wasn't an option. So in 2012 they created a program called eConsult, modeled after a system at San Francisco General Hospital, to streamline the referral process.

Read the full article



Safety Net Connect Partners with TeleMed2U to Expand eConsult Service Offerings
Combining eConsult technology and televideo services for enhanced specialty care within a patient's primary care office

Newport Beach CA, March 2015

Safety Net Connect, a leading provider of innovative web-based healthcare solutions for organizations assisting underserved populations, and the creator of eConsult, today announced a new partnership with TeleMed2U, a company that provides real-time access to physician specialists through the use of televideo services.

"Specialty providers are in short supply and high demand," said Chris Cruttenden, president of Safety Net Connect. "Pairing eConsult - our web-based consultation and care-coordination system with TeleMed2U's multi-specialty group of telehealth-trained physicians will advance the delivery of quality specialty care to underserved and rural populations. We are very excited about this collaboration."

The eConsult system provides PCPs an easy-to-use, web-based care coordination system that effectively triages access to specialty care. TeleMed2U's multi-specialty medical group provides specialty care to patients using real-time audio-video teleconferencing, enabling patients in rural areas to receive specialty care without the need for travel.

This unique partnership expands the capabilities and definition of telehealth - providing faster access to specialty care, while allowing patients to receive that care in their primary care office - or medical home. Using eConsult's secure platform, PCPs can contact TeleMed2U's team of specialists for an electronic peer-to-peer consultation to develop a care plan specific to the needs of the patient. And if a specialty appointment is deemed necessary, the patient can receive a real-time video consultation with a TeleMed2U specialist physician right from their primary care office.

"eConsult is an important tool in the field of telehealth," said Javeed Siddiqui, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of TeleMed2U. "Our partnership with Safety Net Connect strengthens our mission of providing excellent specialty care to large numbers of patients regardless of socioeconomic status or location."

The partnership will benefit Safety Net Connect, TeleMed2U and their clients by broadening the scope of their offerings. TeleMed2U will provide Safety Net Connect's clients with a wider group of specialty physicians and teleconferencing capabilities. Likewise, Safety Net Connect's eConsult system will offer TeleMed2U a proven infrastructure for referral guidelines, decision support algorithms, health information and document attachments, and workflow management.

About TeleMed2U

TeleMed2U is a multi-specialty group of board-certified physicians that supplies its clients with real-time access to physician specialists through the use of telemedicine. Each TeleMed2U specialist is specifically selected for his or her medical expertise and sensitivity to the consumer experience. All are board-certified and fellowship-trained with a minimum of 10 years of experience as a practicing doctor of medicine. They are licensed in the states in which their patients reside and are fully credentialed with the facilities that TeleMed2U serves. For more information, please visit www.telemed2u.com

About Safety Net Connect

Since 2009, Safety Net Connect has partnered with public and private organizations to provide a multitude of successful and nationally recognized web-based healthcare solutions for underserved and safety net populations. Safety Net Connect's innovative solutions have reached over 5 million patients from clients such as Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LADHS), MedPoint, LA Care, Orange County Healthcare Agency, CalOptima, San Diego Healthcare Agency, and Cook County MHN (an Illinois Medicaid Project). For more information, please visit www.safetynetconnect.com



Safety Net Connect's eConsult System Selected by New England eConsult Network to Expand Timely Access to Specialty Care for Underserved
eConsult system improves health equity - increasing access to specialty care for rural and underinsured, while keeping up to 69% of patients in their medical home

Newport Beach CA, February 2015

Safety Net Connect, a leading provider of innovative web-based healthcare solutions for organizations assisting underserved populations, announced that it has been selected by Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) and Weitzman Institute (WI) as the eConsult provider for the New England eConsult Network (NEECN).

After an extensive national review and selection process, Safety Net Connect's eConsult has been chosen as the premier telehealth system to power the newly launched NEECN, which will serve to integrate specialty care into the primary care setting along the East Coast in partnership with the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) and Penobscot Community Health Care of Maine.

An initial WI pilot of Safety Net Connect's eConsult demonstrated 69% of cases being resolved in the primary care office without the need for a face-to-face specialty visit. This is an especially important outcome for NEECN as it strives to provide cost-effective, quality care for underinsured and underserved patients, many of whom live in rural areas with limited access to specialty care and long wait times for appointments.

Safety Net Connect's eConsult will enable NEECN primary care physicians to consult with specialists across New England via a web-based interface at their convenience. With a secure, structured exchange of information and peer-to-peer discussion of patient needs, Safety Net Connect's eConsult will facilitate the delivery of specialty care within NEECN primary care offices. In addition, eConsult will allow for faster, more qualified specialty referrals for the patients who need them.

"This collaboration validates the important role of eConsultation in the care continuum of telehealth services," said Chris Cruttenden, President of Safety Net Connect. "We are excited to play a part in the transformation of specialty care delivery within this pioneering group of mission-driven New England-based healthcare organizations."

"Our evaluation and pilot of several eConsult offerings allowed us to closely examine which system would best fit for our population's needs," said Daren Anderson, MD, Director of WI and VP/Chief Quality Officer of CHC. "Safety Net Connect's eConsult was the clear choice. We are delighted to embark on this journey together, as we strive to bring high quality specialty care to underserved patients within their medical homes."

About Community Health Center

Since 1972, Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) has been one of the leading healthcare providers in the state of Connecticut, building a world-class primary health care system committed to caring for uninsured and underserved populations. CHC is focused on improving health outcomes for its more than 130,000 patients as well as building healthy communities. Recognized as both a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and a Primary Care Medical Home by The Joint Commission, CHC delivers service in more than 200 locations statewide, offering primary care in medical, dental and behavioral health services. For more information, visit www.chc1.com

About Weitzman Institute

Weitzman Institute (WI) is dedicated to promoting quality health care for CHC's 130,000 patients receiving care across the state of Connecticut in over 200 service locations. The Institute promotes quality improvement and practice redesign in health care and research that helps answer critical questions arising in day-to-day practice of primary care. Research and improvement work conducted at the Institute are focused on areas such as telehealth, health disparities, chronic diseases, and performance improvement. WQI is the first of its kind established in the U.S. by a Federally Qualified Health Center. For more information visit quality.chc1.com

About Safety Net Connect

Since 2009, Safety Net Connect has partnered with public and private organizations to provide a multitude of successful and nationally recognized web-based healthcare solutions for underserved and safety net populations. Safety Net Connect's innovative solutions have reached over 5 million patients from clients such as Los Angeles Department of Health Services, MedPoint, LA Care, Orange County Healthcare Agency, CalOptima, San Diego Healthcare Agency, and Cook County MHN (an Illinois Medicaid Project). For more information, please visit www.safetynetconnect.com



Partnership HealthPlan of California Selects Safety Net Connect's eConsult System to Bring Specialty Care to Rural Residents
Addressing Health Inequity for Underserved Californians by Integrating Specialty Care into their Medical Homes

Newport Beach CA, February 2015

Safety Net Connect (SNC), a leading provider of innovative web-based healthcare solutions for organizations assisting underserved populations, announced that it will collaborate with Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) to implement a six-month pilot of SNC's eConsult system. The pilot will operate within federally qualified health centers across three upper northern California counties that serve a large Medicaid population with inadequate access to specialty care.

The eConsult pilot will enable select PHC-affiliated primary care physicians to consult with specialists in four distinct specialty fields. With a secure, structured exchange of information and peer-to-peer discussion of patient needs, SNC's eConsult will facilitate the delivery of specialty care within the primary care office, providing timely services for members who may live hundreds of miles from a specialist.

"We are excited to be an integral part of PHC's initiative to expand specialty care access," said Chris Cruttenden, president of SNC. "Our eConsult technology will provide an avenue for high quality specialty care to reach PHC's low-income, underinsured, and rural residents who are at an unfortunate disadvantage when it comes to specialty care access. We believe this partnership will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of many northern California residents."

The PHC/SNC partnership was inspired by Los Angeles Department of Health Services' pilot of the SNC eConsult system and its landmark 18-month outcomes - where 46% of eConsults were resolved in the primary care office, without the need for a face-to-face specialty appointment; and average wait times for specialty appointments decreased by 60%.

"PHC is a huge champion of innovative solutions for the advancement of patient-centered care," said Dr. Robert Moore, the Chief Medical Officer for PHC. "The SNC eConsult system stands out in the expanding field of telehealth as a groundbreaking method for making specialty care readily available to underserved, rural populations. We are pleased to be working with an expert team steeped in real-world experience for serving the needs of organizations such as ours."

About Partnership HealthPlan of California

Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) is a non-profit community based health care organization that contracts with the State to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers to ensure Medi-Cal recipients have access to high-quality comprehensive cost-effective health care. PHC provides quality health care to over 514,000 members. Beginning in Solano County in 1994, PHC now provides services to 14 Northern California counties - Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo. For more information, visit www.partnershiphp.org

About Safety Net Connect

Since 2009, Safety Net Connect (SNC) has partnered with public and private organizations to provide a multitude of successful and nationally recognized web-based healthcare solutions for underserved and safety net populations. SNC's innovative solutions have reached over 5 million patients from clients such as Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LADHS), MedPoint, LA Care, Orange County Healthcare Agency, CalOptima, San Diego Healthcare Agency, and Cook County MHN (an Illinois Medicaid Project). For more information, please visit www.safetynetconnect.com