Caring for Vulnerable Populations
The AHA Committee on Research each year takes an in-depth look at a single topic to provide the hospital field with relevant recommendations for advancing health care. In 2011, the committee examined emerging hospital-centered practices in effective care coordination for vulnerable populations, focusing the examples on the critical “dual eligible” population - individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
The committee's report, Caring for Vulnerable Populations, explores the necessity for organizations to pursue improved care coordination strategies for dual eligibles and other vulnerable populations. In particular, the report provides:
- Background on dual eligibles, as well as state and national policy initiatives designed to change payment structures to lead to more coordinated care;
- Twelve best practice elements to be included within care programs for vulnerable populations;
- Sample metrics to monitor progress in care coordination; and
- Examples of best practices from across the hospital field.
While the federal, state, and even local governments are pursuing payment alignment to facilitate care coordination, hospitals are in the unique position to replicate the same intensity at points of care. Coordinated payments for this population demand that organizations improve quality, transitions and efficiency.