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Horizon Blue Cross unveils new program aimed at better care for patients | NJ.com

Janet Duni was calling her highest-risk and sickest patients, asking them how they felt and whether they needed help.

The nurse came to a veteran in his 70s who had a series of problems — hypertension, depression and a chaotic mix in his medicine cabinet — plus no way to get to his doctor’s office.

Duni arranged for a driver to take him to her office at Town Medical Associates in Verona. The man brought his medications, which were prescribed independently by the VA, his primary-care doctor and physicians he encountered in a recent hospital trip.

“It was like a Bloomingdale’s big bag,” Duni recalls. “I just started throwing out the expired ones and checking the counter-indications on the others, and we cut most of them out. … He walked out of there with a tangible change.”

The state’s largest health insurer is investing in nurses such as Duni, whose role is known as a patient-care coordinator, as it revamps the delivery of health services. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey unveiled a new program Wednesday that it says will bolster primary-care doctors’ offices in the state — and provide a foundation for health care reform.

Working with Horizon, Rutgers’ College of Nursing is instituting a curriculum training nurses to be patient-care coordinators — part social worker, part problem solver — who proactively reach out to patients to keep them healthy and treated before they need a costly trip to the hospital.

An initial group of 37 nurses is undergoing the 12-week training now, and there will be a total of 200 over two years, according to Horizon, which is funding the program.

Horizon said it has put a “multimillion-dollar” investment into the program that Duke University’s School of Nursing developed. The company said its investment will be returned many times over in savings on health care spending.

See more: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/02/horizon_blue_cross_unveils_new.html

Rutgers, Duke, Horizon form education partnership for nurses | NJBIZ

Horizon Healthcare Innovations announced Wednesday the formation of an educational partnership with Duke University School of Nursing and Rutgers University College of Nursing for a new type of training for nurses.

The 12-week course, which involves face-to-face and online sessions, trains nurses to become population-care coordinators, the cornerstone of patient-centered medical homes.

Dr. Richard Popiel, president and chief operating officer of HHI, an offshoot of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, said the training is to help nurses change the economic model of practices from the number of patient visits to results-based patient care.

“The whole concept around patient-centered medical home changed from a fee-for-service, volume-oriented way of engaging patients to a value-orientation,” Popiel said. “Team-based care, patient-centered care, infrastructure to support better comprehensive care and an orientation toward population management — the way they can do that is to have somebody focused on population management.”

See more: http://www.njbiz.com/article/20120201/NJBIZ01/120209990/Rutgers-Duke-Horizon-form-education-partnership-for-nurses