The Camden Coalition
In 2003, Dr. Jeffrey Brenner founded the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (CCHP) in Camden, New Jersey, which is a nonprofit organization that targets super-utilizers of the health care system. CCHP uses data to address the complex medical and social needs of individuals who have frequent hospital admissions. Although, there is a small percentage of patients that drive most of the cost of the American health care system. The system wasn’t designed to manage these outliers, also known as super-utilizers, – the patients with complex, high and hard-to- manage needs and chronic conditions, however, it was intended to work for the average patient (Healthcare Hotspotting). Coalitions are invaluable in advocacy because they create structures for organizations and individuals to share ownership of common goals.
Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
Camden is one of the poorest cities in the United States, with about 95 percent of its population eligible for Medicaid assistance (Green, S., 2010). To address the health care needs of the city the CCHP was established. The CCHP works to improve the health of its community through innovative approaches to increase the quality of care, capacity, and accessibility within the health care system. At the core of CCHP’s work is the concept of health care hotspotting – a strategic use of data to determine the outliers, understand the problem, reallocate resources, and design effective interventions from the small subset of high-need, high- cost patients (Healthcare Hotspotting). Not only does the CCHP address the medical need of the patients, but coordinates care using a multi-disciplinary approach to treating the whole patient as well as attending to the non-medical needs that can affect their health, such as housing, mental health, emotional support and substance abuse (http://hotspotting.camdenhealth.org/). The CCHP have achieved dramatic results that demonstrate it’s possible to improve health while reducing health care cost.
The CCHP is successful because they spent a significant amount of time and effort building relationships and networking with new stakeholders who could bring new resources to their work. They built a local coalition of hospitals, clinics, medical practices, state agencies and other entities to respond in a flexible way to address the complex and changing needs of the patient who place the greatest demands on the system. With the diverse perspectives of these partners help the Coalition interpret the data they’ve collected, evaluate the approaches they’re applying and connect with resources that can accelerate their work (How the Camden Coalition is Making Health Care Quality Contagious, 2014). Individually, no one was equipped or capable to manage the high demand of this group of patient with extremely diverse medical and social needs.
The Coalition is also successful because they played an active role in crafting health care legislation, both in New Jersey and nationally that formalizes and incentivizes models like the one they’ve built in Camden. Through speaking on expert panels, publishing experience-based recommendations for legislators, building broad awareness of the Camden Coalition’s results through national media channels like The New Yorker and CNN, and joining state and national health care coalitions, Brenner and his team have ensured that the takeaways from their work are inspiring policy change. Strong policy has the potential to incite others to replicate the Camden model, to reduce legal (e.g. data sharing) barriers to the model and to raise the bar for health care quality expectations. Working with a diverse collaboration of stakeholders – from consumer advocacy groups to the NJ Chamber of Commerce – the Camden Coalition has supported the advancement of legislation to create “Accountable Care Organizations” in New Jersey. This legislation will help sustain the Coalition’s work in Camden but will also encourage the spread of the model – and the benefits of the approach – to new geographies (How the Camden Coalition is Making Health Care Quality Contagious, 2014).
Green, S. R., Singh, V., & O’Byrne, W. (2010). Hope for New Jersey’s City Hospitals: The Camden Initiative. Perspectives in Health Information Management / AHIMA, American Health Information Management Association, 7(Spring), 1d.
Healthcare Hotspotting. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2017, from http://hotspotting.camdenhealth.org/
How the Camden Coalition is Making Health Care Quality Contagious. (2014, February 07). Retrieved March 06, 2017, from http://communitywealth.com/how-the-camden-coalition-is-making-health-care-quality-contagious/