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Researchers to examine kids' care, medical homes

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: February 8, 2013 - 11:30 am ET

A recent analysis of studies conducted on the patient-centered medical home practice model included criticism that most of the research focused on older adults, and few studies looked at pediatric populations.

The criticism is particularly stinging because the American Academy of Pediatrics is credited with developing the medical home's care coordination concepts back in 1967. More recently, the AAP has worked with the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association to define and promote the medical home model, which centers on coordinated care, increased access, continuous quality improvement and a “whole-person orientation.”

Now researchers at the Pediatric Medical Home at the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA will be specifically looking at how to improve the quality of care for children with complex illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and cerebral palsy while simultaneously reducing costs.

“Children are not just 'little adults,'” said Dr. Ryan Coller, director of quality for the department of pediatrics at UCLA, in a news release. “What drives the high costs of healthcare dollars in adult-onset disease is much different than children, so we must approach pediatric hospitalization differently in our efforts to find ways to identify cost-saving strategies.”

Ryan will lead the study, which is being paid for with three $300,000 annual grants from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. Its focus will be to identify the root causes for preventable hospital admissions and emergency department use and develop strategies to reduce them, according to the release.

A previous study done at the UCLA Pediatric Medical Home showed how coordinated care could lower emergency department visits.

The UCLA Pediatric Medical Home program started in 2003 and provides primary-care services to almost 200 children with complex medical conditions, the release said.


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