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Complex Care Clinic: One Stop for Holistic Health

Since 2000, the Virginia Coordinated Care Program for the Uninsured (VCC Program) has been providing quality health care to the indigent population of the greater Richmond metropolitan area. Many of the patients the program serves suffer from multiple chronic illnesses coupled with social, financial, and other barriers to good health. VCC staff knew that these patients could be treated more effectively and decided to find a new treatment method. In 2011, VCC opened a Complex Care Clinic, which has made significant strides in improving population health and saving money in just a few short years.

VCU Medical Center created the clinic as a population health management initiative, says Sheryl Garland, MHA, the hospital’s vice president for health policy and community relations. “This Complex Care Clinic is really our first venture into true management of a population,” she says in the medical center’s 2013 annual report. “That’s an example of innovation.”

The clinic uses a holistic approach to care, bringing together in a single location a multidisciplinary team that can include a nurse case manager, social worker, psychologist, pharmacist, and nutritionist. The clinic also partners with external community organizations, such as the United Way and YMCA, to further enhance population health management. As one staff member notes, “These programs provide expertise and additional treatment for those patients who are hard to reach due to issues with substance abuse or mental health.”

Clinic staff use data collection and analysis to direct resources and decision-making, and as the administration notes, “This data is what drives the clinic and helps us get the better health outcomes for patients.”

By the end of 2013, the clinic achieved the following results:

  • 44 percent decline in inpatient admissions and 66 percent reduction in inpatient costs
  • 38 percent decline in emergency department (ED) use and 36 percent reduction in ED costs
  • 49 percent reduction in total hospital costs
  • $4 million in total cost savings
  • $10, 769 average annual costs savings per patient

To learn more about the VCC Program, see the research brief, Virginia Coordinated Care from the Community Physician Perspective or contact:

Sheryl L. Garland
Vice President
Health Policy and Community Relations
VCU Health System
Acting Director
VCU Office of Health Innovation
sgarland@mcvh-vcu.edu
804.828.1290

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About the Author

Laycox is a former senior writer/editor for America's Essential Hospitals.

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