Patient coaches may decrease healthcare costs in New York

Patient coaches may help reduce unnecessary trips to emergency departments, thereby saving more than $150 million in local healthcare costs by 2014, said a board of insurers, physicians, and other healthcare-related organizations in Rochester, N.Y.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield already has agreed to pay for coaches for its members, Dr. Thomas Mahoney, associate executive director of the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, which convened the board, told the Democrat and Chronicle.

To reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations by 25 percent and cut avoidable emergency department visits by 15 percent, the Community Health 2020 Commission on System Performance's recommended:

  • hiring more care managers in doctor's offices and coaches at hospitals and community agencies to help patients with chronic conditions avoid hospitalization;
  • more use of telemedicine;
  • faster notice from hospital emergency departments to patients' primary care physicians; and
  • patients better manage their own health.

"We have everyone sitting around the table trying to reduce costs," Len Redon, vice president of western operations at Paychex Corp, told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We can achieve these goals," he said.

To learn more:
- here's the Democrat and Chronicle article
- read about healthcare coaches