Caring for high need, high cost patients with Jeffrey Brenner

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Jeffrey Brenner is best known for his ground-breaking work with high-need patients in Camden, New Jersey, where he founded the Camden Coalition and changed how we all think about caring for this subset of our patients. He joins us this week and talks with us about how a shooting and subsequent relationship with the Camden police led him to a physician breakfast club and then the coalition; what it was like to catapult to fame after being featured in Atul Gawande’s hotspotter article in The New Yorker; his decision to join United Health Care to continue his work caring for the most vulnerable patients; and what he thinks the future of primary care should look like.

I’d like to thank the Harvard Center for Primary Care for helping to facilitate this interview; and just a warning in case you are listening around young ears, there is some adult language in this episode.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

 This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. This podcast episode contains adult language. Photo courtesy Jeffrey Brenner.

Our Oral Health Crisis with Mary Otto, author of Teeth

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How many times have you treated a dental infection in your primary care office, or spent 10 minutes after a visit googling a dentist that takes your patient’s insurance? We’ve all done it too many times. There is an epidemic of dental disease in the United States – dental care is expensive and difficult to access. Mary Otto, a journalist, author, and our guest this week, has written a book called Teeth. In it, Mary explores the oral health crisis and explains its wide-reaching effects, such as decreased social mobility and fewer opportunities for employment; also, she talks about how oral health has become so segmented apart from the rest of the healthcare system and what can be done about it.

Click here to find more information about Mary Otto, winner of The Studs and Ida Terkel Award, which is dedicated to supporting authors who are committed to exploring aspects of American life that are not adequately represented by the mainstream media. You can find more information about Teeth here. You can find many of Mary’s articles here. You can find Dr. Satcher’s landmark report, Oral Health in America, here.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Images courtesy of Mary Otto.

Partnering Primary Care & Public Health — Lloyd Michener

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Can we solve chronic disease using a medical model? In this episode, the first in a series with speakers from the 2017 second Starfield Summit, we talked with Dr. Lloyd Michener – the principal investigator of the Practical Playbook, which facilitates the integration of primary care and public health – about why primary care clinicians need to collaborate with public health agencies to tackle chronic disease, how to look at data differently to identify what’s really happening in our communities, and how primary care can be a better partner in community collaborations.

Lloyd Michener is a professor of Community and Family Medicine at Duke, the department’s former chair, and one of the country’s pre-eminent authorities on reducing health disparities through community health, community engagement, and practice redesign. Lloyd also leads the technical support service of the BUILD Health Challenge (bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven), a national competitive award program aimed at improving hospital, community, and public health collaborations that improve health. He has also served as President of the Association for Prevention Teaching & Research, Chair of the Council of Academic Societies and as a member of the Board of the Association of Academic Medical Colleges. You can also learn more about his personal and professional journey here.

The Starfield Summit brought together leaders in primary care, clinicians, experts, advocates, patients, and community members – this year in order to collaborate in paving paths towards health equity and social accountability. The Summit was primarily sponsored by Family Medicine for America’s Health, Oregon Health & Science University, and OCHIN.  Stay tuned in upcoming weeks for more speakers from the Starfield Summit.

This interview was edited lightly for clarity.

Photo credit: Duke

A Career in Public Service & Drafting the ACA – John McDonough

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We are tremendously lucky to welcome health policy expert John McDonough as our guest this week. He has had a long and distinguished career in public service as well as a scholar and advocate. We talk about his work as a member of the MA state legislature for 13 years (discussed in his book Experiencing Politics), as well as his efforts between 2008 and 2010, when he served as a Senior Advisor on National Health Reform to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where he worked on the development and passage of the Affordable Care Act. He wrote about his experiences during that time in Inside National Health Reform. He is now a Professor of Public Health Practice in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and you can find his academic publications here, and a collection of his lay-press publications on his blog.

If you enjoy the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Photo courtesy of John McDonough.

Integrating Primary Care & Behavioral Health at Lynn CHC: Kiame Mahaniah & Mark Alexakos

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Primary care models integrating behavioral health services are being adopted across the country. This week, we talked with two leaders at the Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC), Dr. Mark Alexakos and Dr. Kiame Mahaniah, about their experience with integration.

LCHC is unique among community health centers in that it started out as a mental health counseling center, and now has the largest community health center-based behavioral health program in Massachusetts. In this conversation, we talk about what it means to integrate behavioral health services with primary care clinical services – how it can reduce the fragmentation of services to better meet the needs of patients and the demand for mental health care (2:40), why it may better position clinics participating in accountable care (7:40), what successes they’ve seen (8:45), and the resources it has required (12:28). Along the way, our guests make it clear that the staff at LCHC love working in integrated teams. You can learn more about various other models of integrated behavioral health here.

Mark Alexakos MD, MPP, is the chief behavioral health officer of LCHC. He has a joint degree in medicine and public policy and developed an early interest in the interface between policy, research, and service delivery as they relate to access barriers, health disparities, and community health. Before working at LCHC, he spent seven years developing intensive, school-based mental health services that combined health promotion and prevention with quick access to behavioral health treatment in five Boston Public Schools.

Kiame Mahaniah, MD, is the chief executive officer of LCHC, though at the time of this interview, he served as the chief medical officer. His passion resolves around social and restorative justice, in the context of healthcare.   His twin clinical interests are teaching—he holds an appointment at the Tufts University School of Medicine—and integrating opioid addiction treatment into the primary care/behavioral health matrix.

This interview was edited lightly for length and clarity.

photo credit: Lynn Community Health Center

How do we improve the value of care delivered in primary care? with John Mafi

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All of us like to think that we provide high-value care for our patients; but the truth is, just like the rest of the health care system, primary care provides a lot of low value care too – and we drive a lot of overuse. John Mafi joins us this week to talk about his leading research into these thorny, complex issues.

We talk about the definitions of high-value and low value care, his 2016 study in Annals of Internal Medicine examining rates of high and low value care among physicians, NPs, and PAs in the primary care setting, how practice setting may affect the delivery of high and low value care, and the essential truth that there is no free lunch in trying to solve some of the challenges in fixing primary care in the US. You can find Shah et al, which John referenced here; a recent study relevant to our conversation by Hong et al looking at clinician characteristics and frequent ordering of low-value imaging studies; and an extremely important new paper that John published recently in Health Affairs looking at the the impact of low-cost, high-volume studies on unnecessary health spending.

A little bit more about our guest:  John N. Mafi, MD, MPH is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA where he also practices and teaches. He also serves as an Affiliated Natural Scientist in Health Policy at RAND Corporation. Dr. Mafi trained in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2012, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident and completed the Harvard Medical School Fellowship in General Internal Medicine and Primary Care in 2015. Dr. Mafi’s research focuses on quality and value measurement and how electronic health records can improve the value of care.

If you enjoy the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

 This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Lori Tishler of Commonwealth Care Alliance – Caring for the Most Vulnerable Patients

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Have you ever felt lonely and overwhelmed in a clinic room with a patient whose needs are far beyond your skills and ability to meet? I have, many times, and so has our guest this week, Dr. Lori Tishler. Dr. Tishler is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that cares for more than 20,000 of the most vulnerable patients in Massachusetts, duals, or individuals who have both Medicare and Medicaid.

We talk about how CCA’s member-centered approach (as opposed to a physician-centered approach) has helped her feel more effective in caring for these vulnerable patients. We talk about the range of services that CCA offers, the role of their care partners, and the freedom that their financial model permits – for example, they provide 90% of care to patients in their homes.

You can find the Atlantic Magazine article we referenced featuring CCA here, and find a few Health Affairs blogs featuring CCA here, and a blog post focusing on building the business case for a community paramedicine program here.

A bit more about our guest: Lori Tishler is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that cares for more than 20,000 of the most vulnerable patients in Massachusetts, people who have both Medicare and Medicaid.  She oversees CCA’s physicians and is involved with clinical aspects of quality, utilization, and pharmacy.  In addition, she is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and an active member of the General Medicine Faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, As a caring and connected physician leader, mentor, and educator, Dr. Tishler’s passion has been providing care for the medically and socially vulnerable and making a difference in health systems for all.   Tishler has found that the most rewarding way to help change and grow our health care systems is to mentor learners who are interested in clinical care, leadership, and innovation.

Her leadership roles have extended outside of the clinic and outside of primary care.  She served on the Partners Healthcare Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for the Office for Women’s Careers, and the Board of the Schwartz Rounds while at the Brigham.  At Commonwealth Care Alliance, she teaches and presents nationally about our care model and innovations.

In addition to her leadership work, she continues to provide clinical care  Tishler feels that working as a clinician informs her choices and decisions as a leader.  Outside of work, Dr. Tishler loves to spend time with her husband and teenaged daughter, to travel, read, and knit.  She is honored to have been interviewed on Review of Systems.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email us at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Tom Bodenheimer – Building Blocks of High-Performing Primary Care and the Quadruple Aim

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Dr. Tom Bodenheimer is one of the world’s foremost experts in primary care re-design, having recently written about high-performing primary care clinics and the Quadruple Aim, which are articles consistently in the most-read list for the Annals of Family Medicine and among his most cited work.  We focused much of our conversation on his work visiting 23 high-performing primary care practices, what he and co-authors learned, how resident teaching sites can also be high-performing, and why we should be seeking a fourth aim in addition to IHI’s famed Triple Aim.

A general internist who received his medical degree at Harvard and completed his residency at the University of California-San Francisco, Dr. Tom Bodenheimer spent 32 years in primary care practice in San Francisco’s Mission District, a primarily low-income, Latino community—ten years in community health centers and 22 years in private practice.  He is currently Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF and Founder and Co-Director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care.  He has written extensively in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Annals of Family Medicine, and Health Affairs, on health policy and health care delivery for chronic disease management, including patient self-management, health coaching, and team-based care. He is also co-author of the books Improving Primary Care: Strategies and Tools for a Better Practice, and the health policy text book Understanding Health Policy.

Listen at the end of the episode for a promo code to receive 15% off registration fees for an upcoming conference from the Harvard Center for Primary Care: Primary Care in 2020 – Future Challenges, Tips for Today.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

How does architectural design impact c-section rates? Mass Design & Ariadne Labs

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This episode starts with a question: “what if the architectural design of an obstetric unit influenced the c-section rate in that unit?”

That question occurred to obstetrician/gynecologist Neel Shah when he attended a presentation by Michael Murphy, the co-founder and executive director of Mass Design, an architectural design and research firm that focuses particularly on healthcare architecture. Neel thinks about c-section rates all the time and is a leading researcher in the field of maternal health. C-section rates vary widely throughout the US – from 7 to 70%, and where a woman delivers better predicts whether she will get a c-section than her own personal risk factors. So, Michael Murphy’s contention that “Architecture is never neutral. It either heals or hurts” stayed with Neel and inspired him to pursue a research initiative between Mass Design and his research group, Ariadne Labs.

Neel Shah and two of his collaborators, Amie Shao and Deb Rosenberg, researchers and architects with Mass Design, join us to talk about their collaboration and the report they produced.

Amie Shao is a director with MASS Design Group, where she oversees research focusing on health infrastructure planning and evaluation. In addition to guiding impact research for MASS built projects, she coordinated the production of National Health Infrastructure Standards for the Liberian Ministry of Health and has been involved in the design and evaluation of healthcare facilities in Haiti, Africa, and the United States. Deb Rosenberg joined MASS in 2015, with a unique background in healthcare and architecture. Throughout her career in nursing and architecture is a common ambition to promote health and well-being, and she believes that the spaces where people live, work and heal have the capacity to greatly support or restrict our human potential. Neel Shah, MD, MPP, is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Delivery Decisions Initiative at Ariadne Labs. His team is currently collaborating with hospitals across the United States, and using methods from design, systems engineering, and management to reduce the epidemic of avoidable c-sections.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email us at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Listen at the end of the episode for a promo code to receive 15% off registration fees for an upcoming conference from the Harvard Center for Primary Care: Primary Care in 2020 – Future Challenges, Tips for Today.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Frederick Chen – Teaching Health Centers

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Teaching health centers (THCs) are primary care residency training sites in community-based organizations, often in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), in contrast to traditional tertiary care hospital-based training. Federal funding for the THC program, created by the ACA in 2010 and renewed through MACRA in 2015, is set to expire on September 30, 2017.

THCs may be a key part in solving the primary care workforce shortage, so we talked with Dr. Frederick Chen, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington and a recent senior advisor to HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions for the Teaching Health Center program.

We review flaws in traditional methods of funding graduate medical education in the US (2:50) then discuss Freddy’s research (8:15) showing that residents trained in FQHCs are 3-4 times more likely to go work in underserved settings. He also describes the key factors in creating community health center-family medicine residency partnership (12:20). Freddy’s work led to the THC graduate medical education program, an innovative federal policy that aims to increase access to primary care where it is needed the most, and we talk about some of the early lessons since its inception (18:50). You can also find the controversial 2014 Institute of Medicine report mentioned by Freddy in our conversation here.  Finally, Freddy shares about how his academic career led him to help shape national health policy (23:07).

Listen at the end of the episode for a promo code to receive 15% off registration fees for an upcoming conference from the Harvard Center for Primary Care: Primary Care in 2020 – Future Challenges, Tips for Today.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.