Healthcare Business News

Phoenix Children's, Arizona Blues team up to curb obesity

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: July 12, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

In a rare direct payer-provider partnership, Phoenix Children's Hospital and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona are launching a medical home program to prevent childhood obesity.

The idea for a jointly operated clinic started about a year ago, said Dr. Kristen Samaddar, a pediatrician at Phoenix Children's and one of the leaders of the yearlong program.

The youth obesity rate in Arizona was almost 20% in 2011, according to the National Survey of Children's Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 17% of U.S. children are obese, with many costly chronic illnesses such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes linked to the condition.

The obesity clinic, to be at Phoenix Children's, will monitor and treat patients ages 2 to 18. Primary-care physicians will lead the program using a patient-centered medical home model, tailoring preventive care for each child through coaching and consistent outreach. Blue Cross gave Phoenix Children's a $20,000 grant to help develop educational materials and get the program off the ground, Samaddar said.

Although other U.S. hospitals offer youth-focused obesity and weight-management clinics, such as the one based at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, few are partnered with a payer. —Bob Herman

Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman

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USC's Keck Medicine in deal to expand local network

Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California completed its acquisition of Orange Coast Oncology Hematology Medical Associates in a move intended to extend the academic medical center's comprehensive cancer care to more convenient local settings.

“It is estimated we have to send 20% to 25% of our patients elsewhere because we just don't have the technologies, skills and expertise to deliver what we consider to be the best care locally,” said Dr. Louis VanderMolen, the newly appointed clinical professor of medicine for Keck and founder of OCOH.

Instead, he said, patients should be able to access cutting-edge clinical therapies, advanced technologies and procedures, consultations with specialists, and research being conducted at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC.

Under the terms of the agreement, the OCOH practice becomes part of Keck Medicine of USC and will be known as USC Oncology/Hematology. It will include locations in Newport Beach and Irvine, as well as a treatment center in Newport Beach. Physicians with the former OCOH practice are now also faculty at the Keck School of Medicine and members of USC Care, its medical faculty practice group. —Rachel Landen

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden

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