“I want to work with families and kids, before they get very sick and end up in the hospital needing intensive care. I want to develop relationships with them and provide some preventive health care.”
A friend of mine told me recently why she was going back to school to move from registered nurse to nurse practitioner. It’s no easy task, going back to school—she had to cut back on work to fit in more clinical hours, and classwork is extensive and time-consuming. But for her, it’s worth it if she can be the first line of defense for her patients’ health care issues.
I told her I was so glad that health professionals like her wanted to help give patients a medical home, and she said, “Huh?”
Living and working in the world of health policy, I often forget that models of health care delivery aren’t just casual conversation topics for everyone. Who knew? So I explained that a medical home is not a physical place, but rather a health care model to ensure a person’s or a family’s primary care needs are being met, in addition to providing care coordination and case management. Care coordination and case management ensure that the patient understands and is able to follow through on their treatment plans and their prescriptions are well-coordinated.
Suddenly, my friend realized that her dream had a name.
Making the connection between the way that health care is delivered and the public policy affecting it is an essential part of our work at CCMU. We strive to serve as a bridge between public policy and the community, so any important new developments are not lost on the people who will actually have to make those changes happen.
By 2016 we will have an estimated 510,000 newly-insured Coloradans who will need care to go along with their coverage. That’s a lot of medical homes and a lot of health professionals. It has been estimated that we will need between 83 and 141 new primary care providers to deal with that sort of demand; the first task will be to recruit them, and the second, to help them stay at the forefront of the changing health care system so they can best serve their patients.
One new primary care provider recruited and educated, many, many more to go!
The Colorado Health Professions Workforce Policy Collaborative is attempting to find solutions to these issues. To learn more about their work, click here.