Meeting of June 16, 2011

PHOTO BY BILL DOWD

Dr. Jim Leyhane speaks about his practice’s “Patient-Centered Medical Home” pilot project while Dr. Len Leonidas and colleagues Mary Griswold (standing) and Paula Reckner from their Community Care Physicians office in Schodack work on their computerized information.


Attendance (17): Terry Brewer, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Geoff Brewer, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Phil Egan, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Len Leonidas, Charlie Foote, Dick Drumm, Carol Orvis, Jim Leyhane, Russ Edberg, Peter Brown, Ron Annis.

Guests (2): Mary Griswold, Paula Reckner.

Program: Patient-Centered Medical Home, a Physician’s Perspective

Community Care Physicians of Schodack is part of a pilot program to reinvent primary medical care along with Capital District Physicians Health Plan. Part of the driving force, Dr. Jim Leyhane explained, is that many doctors find they cannot afford to stay in primary care practice due to high debt incurred during medical training — which he likened to having an extra mortgage to pay. He noted that the U.S. is low — about 20th — worldwide in good outcomes and cost control. Changes are necessary.

The project includes complex change in the office, including better management and better patient coordination. He said such a change from the doctor-centered to patient-centered practice involves team care by a group that includes more than the primary physician. It also demands better sharing of test results and records. The first year of the change resulted in an 8% cost reduction; the second year results are due next month.

Dr. Len Leonidas said the process began in 2008 with just an idea and now has come to fruition. Innovations include using electronic methods to communicate with patients. They already feel patient care has improved. Savings also come from cutting down on emergency room visits or protracted hospital stays by better coordination of care and the home support network.

Mary Griswold, CCP practice manager, explained that solid team leadership is very important and includes all levels in the office. Some personnel have had their tasks adjusted to make their jobs more efficient. They continue to strive for open communication and to look for ways to improve. They also are looking for feedback from patients.

Paula Reckner, patient care coordinator, explained  how she keeps tabs on patients for followup care, medication coordination and general care progress. She also locates additional services as needed.

Announcements:

• Terry reminded the members that next week’s meeting is the annual Changeover Dinner, with Jim Leyhane succeeding him as president for the 2011-2012 Rotary Year.

• We will return to the Holiday Inn Express for the June 30 meeting, then begin the informal summer meetings at members’ homes. Please contact Terry or Jim ASAP if you wish to host one such event. Jim and Rob Mangold already have volunteered to do so.

NEXT MEETING: 6 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at Forth residence for Changeover of the Presidency. Contact Murray ASAP if you care to bring either an appetizer or a dessert to go with the catered steak dinner.

[Go here for the Events Calendar.]

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