Los Angeles Safety-Net Providers Aim To Set Up Integrated Care Network
Safety-net hospitals in the Los Angeles area are working to set up integrated systems of care in an effort to cut costs and improve management for low-income patients, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Issues Facing Safety-Net Facilities
Medical staff in safety-net facilities around Los Angeles County sometimes treat the same patients, but doctors and nurses say they have no way of knowing what treatment or tests patients might have received because they cannot access other facilities' computer systems.
Hospitals that treat low-income patients also might not have the necessary resources to make sure patients receive adequate follow-up care after being discharged, which can lead to costly emergency department visits.
In addition, language barriers can affect the ability of patients to tell health care providers about their medical histories.
Gearing Up for Partnership To Boost Collaboration
Some Los Angeles health care providers are working to set up a partnership based onÂ programs in other cities.
For example, the Denver Health safety-net system has established a network of neighborhood and school-based clinics that provides routine checkups and vaccinations. Denver Health also has an electronic health record system that lets medical staff access patient information. These initiatives have helped Denver Health control costs, according to the Colorado Hospital Association.
In California, Citrus Valley Health Partners, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and White Memorial Medical Center are aiming to create a medical record sharing partnership with AltaMed, Los Angeles County's largest chain of not-for-profit health clinics.
The organizations are working to set up a network to care for thousands of patients through AltaMed clinics and independent private physicians by 2013.
The partnership also is in discussions with the county's health system on how to share patient records and reduce duplicative medical services (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 11/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.