June | 2013
Monday, June 3, 2013
Patients at the Heart of Success

There is no one-size fits all approach to improving the health of our communities. Each AF4Q Alliance is a laboratory, bringing together the right people to try the right things. And one key ingredient to their experiments succeeding is empowered patients.

Today's issue of Spotlight includes stories showcasing the value of empowered patients. Visit our website to learn more about how AF4Q Alliances are working with patients to make real impacts in their communities.

Minnesota RARE Campaign

What is the value of a good night’s sleep in your own bed? Hospital readmissions are stressful for both patients and their families. A coalition in Minnesota is working to prevent avoidable hospital readmissions. The Minnesota RARE campaign (Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively) is aiming to help patients spend more nights out of the hospital and in their own beds by better managing the transition out of the hospital.

Cara Broich found herself in a spiral of complications after open heart surgery. Said Broich, “I was too sick to be assertive, so I was readmitted with heart failure.” She was re-admitted to the hospital several times after her surgery. After a third re-hospitalization, the effects of the Minnesota RARE campaign began to show; she had three appointments with specialists lined up before her discharge. “The change was amazing,” she said.

Detroit Cardiac Disease Prevention Exercise Program

“I knew I needed to make a change and be proactive in reducing my risk for heart disease. The exercise program helped me lose over 25 pounds, and my blood pressure is down to 112/65. The personal trainers were amazing. I have more energy than ever,” said Gloria Kennedy. Kennedy, 53, a Detroit resident and mother of two, is a testimonial to the importance of the Cardiac Disease Prevention Exercise Program led by the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) Detroit initiative, headed by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC). After a routine checkup, Kennedy discovered she was at risk for heart disease. With the help of the GDAHC exercise program, Kennedy is the healthiest she has ever been and has drastically reduced her risk factors. The Cardiac Disease Prevention Exercise Program is free and helps participants reduce their risk factors for heart disease and improve their overall quality of life.“What we have here is such a jewel. The time and money spent on this program is priceless. It works, it really works. I want to go out and tell everyone how many lives can be saved by taking such simples steps. It’s about getting back to basics, exercising, and eating right,” said Kennedy.   

Maine: Building a New Health System Around Community

“I met other people with critical illnesses, and I knew I wasn’t alone. Our voices were heard, and we were able to make a difference in how health care is promoted in our area,” said Belinda Wee, PhD. Wee joined Bangor Beacon Community’s Patient Advisory Group after her positive experience with the community as a chronic diabetes patient. Wee serves on the Patient Advisory Group along with other patients, caregivers, physicians, and community members. The patient-centered initiative is part of Aligning Forces for Quality Maine’s efforts, led by Maine Quality Counts. The group recently extended its reach and formed a valuable partnership with the local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs).“It was a natural partnership that fit. We didn’t want to be overlapping communication,” said Dyan Walsh, director of community services at the Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Walsh said her organization’s tens of thousands of consumers were Bangor Beacon Community’s patients, and the relationship made sense.“The real strategic thing here is getting the community oriented consumers involved with the large health systems.  As the consumers develop capability and confidence over the next 1-2 years—which takes that long—they, supported by the AAA staff, will be in a better position to influence the evolvement of the health care delivery system so it is more about people in the community and not the health systems themselves,” said Ted Rooney, project director, AF4Q Maine Alliance.

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care and provide models for national reform. Alliance teams represent the people who get care, give care, and pay for care.
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