Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Grand Junction - an Exemplar Palliative Care Community

President Obama held a town hall recently in Grand Junction, Colorado. To healthcare reformers, Grand Junction, CO., is one of the areas of innovation -- a place that provides high-quality healthcare at a fraction of the costs in most other communities. And, according to some experts, Grand Junction chalks up some impressive statistics. Only 12% of Medicare patients required readmission 30 days after a hospital visit, as opposed to the nationwide rate of 20%. Children on Medicaid in the HMO are four times as likely as other Colorado Medicaid children to receive all immunization treatment -- and adults on Medicaid were up to 10 times as likely to get comprehensive diabetes care. How does Grand Junction stack up for its palliative care practices? The Community Palliative Performance Profile, compiled by DAI Palliative Care Group, graded Grand Junction as an A-plus (an exemplar community). Why did Grand Junction earn this superlative? For starters, less reliance in the final months of life upon intensive care (less than half of national average) and one of lowest percentages of deaths occurring in a hospital (20.7%). And hospice enrollment nearly 30% greater than the national average. Is it mere coincidence? We think not, as a profile of one of the senior palliative care physicians in Grand Junction will show in future posts.

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