We’re heading into a new year that holds real promise for accelerating the transformation American health care needs. What better occasion to celebrate the leadership and vision of those remarkable health care providers who are stepping onto the front lines of a movement that is reshaping the way health care is delivered, improving the quality of our care, and demonstrating impressive potential to rein in runaway growth of health costs?
The political theater over repealing and replacing health reform on Capitol Hill looks like it could run for a two-year season, at least, but the real action on creating a cost-effective, high-performance health care delivery system is no longer found in Congress. The health care transformation that matters most, now, is being built from the ground up in cities, regions of states, hospital catchment areas, and private medical practices where visionary care providers, particularly family physicians, are partnering with their patients and payers to put innovative models for team-based health care delivery into operation.
Dr. Allen L. Crimm is one of these innovators, leading transformation of his own primary care practice in Philadelphia and taking a leading role in coordinating practices moving along similar paths of self-transformation in Southeastern Pennsylvania. It is a privilege for America’s Agenda to work with Dr. Crimm and his remarkable physician colleagues to bring access to the caliber of care they provide through state-of-the-art, team-based medical practices to working families participating in union health plans.
A few weeks, ago, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Physicians recognized Dr. Crimm’s exemplary leadership and service by awarding him the prestigious Laureate Award. The following excerpt from the College’s statement is both a tribute to his accomplishments and a good description of the kind of systemic transformation that offers America our greatest opportunity to deliver on the promise of affordable, high quality health care for all:
The College recognized Dr. Crimm for his leadership efforts in the area of the Patient Centered Medical Home, an advanced model of primary care practice. Dr. Crimm has led the transformation of his practice, Ninth Street Internal Medicine, to become one of the first practices in the US to become certified as a Patient Centered Medical Home.
Through this model of primary care, physicians organize multiple members of their practice team to assure that all patients receive the care they need based on the best scientific evidence available. Patients are given information and support in order to become more engaged in and make more informed choices about their care. Strategies are systematically employed to overcome physician and patient barriers to success in achieving good control of their chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and chronic lung disease. Through the availability of same day appointments, email communication, and enhanced phone care, patients have better access to their provider team. Care is coordinated with specialists and hospitals in order to decrease duplication of care and avoid complications when patients enter or leave the hospital. The results of these efforts are measured in order to make further improvements to the practice.
Data collected from Dr. Crimm’s practice and others like it in Pennsylvania using the Patient Centered Medical Home model show that patients are far more likely to have both excellent control of their chronic medical problems and receive appropriate cancer screening and other preventive care than in other practices in the state. In addition, emerging data has shown that total medical costs are decreased in practices that employ these techniques.
Dr. Crimm has also taken a leadership role in creating a new physician organization, Advanced Comprehensive Care Organization, LLC, involving other primary care practices that have become Patient Centered Medical Homes. The goal is to provide a higher level of primary care to patients in the Delaware Valley and to share experience, knowledge and support resources to enable more practices to offer this level of service to their patients. The American College of Physicians has been a national advocate for patients receiving higher quality primary care through this model of care. Because of promising results with an initial pilot, Pennsylvania was recently selected by the federal government for a program to expand this model of care throughout the state with additional support from the Medicare program.
This kind of change is hard … really hard. When it succeeds, everybody wins: employees and employers; patients, payers, and providers. It’s the kind of transformation good public health policy should encourage, incent, and support.
We congratulate Dr. Crimm on his well-deserved award. The vision and hard work of dedicated health care providers like Allan Crimm, MD are laying the foundation for the cost-effective, high-performance 21st century health care system Americans deserve.
Click here to read the College of Physicians' full statement on its award to Dr. Crimm.