Panel: Community Coordination Can Improve Chronic Care Management

Jeromie Ballreich learned the value of coordinated care all too early, when as a college student, he suffered a severe spinal cord injury while swimming and nearly drowned. 

Ballreich spoke about coordinating care for chronic illnesses between clinics and community-based organizations as part of a panel discussion at the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative Fall Conference, held here Nov. 11-13. Panelists called for a number of changes to improve how this care is delivered, including better transportation for patients, bringing outside caregivers to office visits and, crucially, making sure physicians are paid for their work.

Ballreich explained that he needed regular physical therapy sessions and, eventually, vocational therapy after he moved from the hospital where he was treated for six months to his family's rural Pennsylvania home.

As a patient with quadriplegia, Ballreich depended on his mother as his primary caregiver, but he required true coordinated care to live the way he wanted. Although his community offered many of the health services he needed, those services were not connected in a manner that was convenient for patients.

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