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SEATTLE - (Sept. 27, 2010) - Virginia Mason Medical Center (VM) has launched an innovative primary care program for patients with complex health needs, such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease and other chronic health conditions. The new Intensive Primary Care program is designed to provide focused, coordinated care for patients, resulting in better health outcomes and increased satisfaction at a lower cost.
 
Initially, patients who are members of certain Regence BlueShield plans may choose to participate and will receive care from their primary care physician, nurse care manager and supporting care team members. This dedicated team will provide proactive outreach, continuity of care and support to participants via e-mail, phone and in-person visits.
 
"Care for patients with chronic and complex conditions is typically uncoordinated, which often results in costly and frequent services," said Catherine Potts, MD, chief of primary care, Virginia Mason. "This program enables a highly individualized and accessible form of enhanced primary care, based on treatment goals specific to each patient."
 
Potts pointed to a pilot initiated by The Boeing Company that Virginia Mason and Regence BlueShield participated in from 2007 to 2009. The pilot achieved positive results in patients' health, functional status and satisfaction with care. It also helped reduce health costs by more than 20 percent, primarily by decreasing hospital admissions and Emergency Department visits. The pilot focused on 750 Boeing employees who suffered from complex health issues, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart problems and depression.
 
"Virginia Mason and Regence BlueShield recognize the need for health care reform, and believe that many of the answers lie in partnerships such as this," said Joseph Gifford, MD, senior medical director, Regence BlueShield. "By working together, we are demonstrating that positive change is possible — that we can improve the quality of the health care experience for patients by providing the appropriate treatments at the right time at the right cost."
 
The program is based on research and design work conducted by national health care improvement specialists and draws from similar new primary care models advocated by the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Practitioners.
 
About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Chronic Care Management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit VirginiaMason.org or Facebook/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

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