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By Lisa Schwantes
Special to The SUN
Southwestern Colorado Area Health Education Center (SWCAHEC) was recently awarded a grant from The Colorado Health Foundation to design and implement a Center of Excellence in Care Coordination (CoECC). Nora Flucke, RN, MS, of Global Care Professionals, has been contracted as the project director to provide leadership for the CoECC.
SWCAHEC’s CoECC will merge research, evaluation, innovation, resources and evidenced-based practices which promote health, wellness and access to care; reduce health disparities; and improve health outcomes.
Through recent collaborative work across an eight-county region in southwest Colorado (Archuleta, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel), SWCAHEC became aware of numerous similar initiatives being implemented in several communities to improve access to quality health care services.
Flucke explained, “The projects from the varying communities reveal individual preferences, philosophies, cultures and budgets. While those are very important considerations, we hope to identify best practices for the entire region. We want to achieve excellence in care coordination by aligning our goals and working together.”
To better coordinate those initiatives, the CoECC will develop care coordination databases to improve quality and streamline systems that benefit the patient experience, ultimately increasing access and quality and lowering costs in an effort to improve the health of all Coloradans.
Flucke continued, “We will be working with the program leaders from all over the Four Corners region, providing resources and assisting them with the needs of their own communities.”
The population served will be all care coordination staff of existing initiatives in the eight-county region. Currently, six sites have been identified, which would indirectly impact 30,000-40,000 patients across the region. While indicators for coordination efforts are often not readily apparent, the CoECC will document accounts of care coordination successes to illustrate quantitative and qualitative evidence of meaningful outcomes. Documenting outcomes related to care coordination efforts will be important to identify the most successful practices.