By Coleen Elkins
Being in a situation where your doctors work together to coordinate your care can really give a patient peace of mind. For example if your Cardiologist communicates with your Pulmonologist also treating you could have healthier results. Many hospitals and doctors are letting their patients know about their coordination of care services.
Beginning this month Medicare will pay primary care doctors a monthly fee to practice coordination of care for their chronically ill patients. The fee will be paid even if the doctor did not see the patient that month. Medicare feels this is a step to keeping patients healthier between doctor visits, and avoid costly hospital and nursing home stays.
Coordination of care could benefit patients of all ages. If the doctors practice receives extra funds to practice this way everyone will benefit. It will also help to lower the cost of medical care overall. Patients that have multiple illness often find themselves on several medications. If the doctors are working together and discussing medications etc the patient may end up with fewer monthly doctors visits. It will also lower costs by not repeating tests that may have been run by another physician.
The fee that will be paid is approximately $40 per month for each qualified patient. To earn the fee doctors will be required to come with a care plan for the qualified patients and spend time each month on coordinating their care with other providers monitoring and treating that patient. They will also have staff communicating with the patient with after care follow up calls etc.
Hopefully it will be found that this type of practice benefits everyone not just those at a high risk. Next time you visit your doctor ask them about coordination of your care.