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Collaboration brings better care in Josephine County

Kevin Molteni, M.D.
Kevin Molteni, M.D., is a member of PrimaryHealth’s Community Learning Collaborative, where local providers break down barriers to coordinated care.

June 3, 2013 (Grants Pass) Health care providers at PrimaryHealth of Josephine County are collaborating in new ways and more often than ever before. The Southern Oregon coordinated care organization has developed a "Community Learning Collaborative" program that brings together physical, behavioral, and primary care and women's health care providers.

"Before becoming part of the coordinated care organization, we were more focused on our own house. We were like separate businesses working alone. Now we're fostering an environment about the possibility of the betterment of all," said Jessica Norton, R.N.  

"We're seeing the benefits of collaboration. It is in everyone's interest to collaborate especially the patients'."

~ Jessica Norton, R.N. 

Norton is the primary care home coordinator for Grants Pass Clinic, a state-recognized patient-centered primary care home and the largest primary care provider in the CCO's service area. "We"re seeing the benefits of collaboration," Norton said. "It is in everyone's interest to collaborate – especially the patients'."

The learning collaborative group has worked especially hard to be able to share electronic medical records in a safe and secure manner. Sharing medical records in this way enables all of the patient's health care team to better help their patients. Also, sharing records can help eliminate duplicate tests and procedures. That helps to lower costs – something patients appreciate.

Norton credits the group's work with streamlining the process for notifying primary care providers within 48 hours when one of their patients is discharged. This enables providers to offer timely follow-up care.

"We call the patient and make sure they see their provider within a week of being discharged. We can decrease the rate of emergency room utilization by providing good primary care," Norton said.

In general, better communication among providers and more focus on the patient equals better care.

"It's like we are completing the cycle," Norton said. "The cycle starts when the patient starts with their primary care provider. They may have to see a specialist or go to the hospital, but then they come home to roost – to see their primary care provider. The whole intent of this collaboration is that we are working to improve our patients' health."