Blues' Horizon invests $1M to train medical home care coordinators

Horizon Healthcare Innovations has created a specialized nurse training program for nurses working in its parent Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey's patient-centered medical home programs. Horizon is investing more than $1 million to fund the training program and provide payments to medical practices so they can afford to hire care coordinators.

In collaboration with Duke University School of Nursing and Rutgers College of Nursing, Horizon developed the 12-week course to train nurses to become population care coordinators, who act as patient coaches and advocates working to improve preventive and wellness care, NJ Spotlight reported.

"This gives us a great opportunity to formalize the education around what they are going to be doing in these practices," said Horizon President and chief operating officer Richard Popiel. "This is something nurses have not been taught in traditional nursing schools."

The training program, which includes both face-to-face and online sessions, can be completed either through continuing education credits or as part of an advanced nursing degree. It focuses on skills involving case management, database use, care coordination for patients admitted to and discharged from care facilities and patient-centered medical home operations, reported NJBiz.

"The patient-centered medical homes, the concept, will not translate into success unless you have the critical building blocks or foundational elements that set you up for success, and the population-care coordinator is one of those critical foundations," Popiel said.

Almost 40 nurses are undergoing the training, and Horizon hopes to train a total of 200 nurses over the next two years, according to the Star-Ledger.

To learn more:
- read the NJBiz article
- see the Star-Ledger article
- check out the NJ Spotlight article

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