Improving Care for Patients With Complex Health and Social Needs


This post was written by Jeffrey Brenner, MD, executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (pictured below).

Almost 15 years ago, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers began as a monthly breakfast meeting of frustrated family physicians in Camden, New Jersey. Despite our deep dedication, there was no business model for taking good care of the sickest patients. There still isn’t. Since those first meetings we have made great strides in coordinating care and building capacity in Camden, and in building a model for better care for patients who end up receiving inefficient and inappropriate care from hospitals, emergency departments, and jails because their complex health and social needs are not being met.

We know that there are many brilliant people working on the same problem in isolated pockets across the country. To create a professional home for these innovators, in March of this year we announced the launch of the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs. The Center’s purpose is to create a space where we can work together to identify the best evidence-based models for improving care for the relatively small population of patients with complex health and social needs that drives a disproportionate share of our healthcare costs.

We’ve learned that patients overutilize healthcare services when there is mismatch between the needs that they have and the services that are available. Rather than blaming patients for excess utilization, we need to hold a mirror up to the system and change how we deliver care.

On December 7-9 in Philadelphia, we will be holding our inaugural conference, Putting Care at the Center. We’re gathering model makers, researchers, payers, policy makers, clinicians, patients, and community leaders to meet, network, and create a shared agenda for the emerging field of complex care. Under the coordination of the Center, we’ll collaborate on research and policy, create educational programming, and support clinicians and experts working on the front lines.

We hope you’ll join us. Watch this space for updates and coverage related to the conference and the National Center. If you’re interested in attending next year’s conference, make sure you’re signed up for our mailing list so that you’re the first to know when tickets are available.

We look forward to working with you as we build a new field and a new movement for better care, one patient and one community at a time.
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