Seniors Benefit from a Group Approach to Primary Care

Regional cooperative health care clinic for elderly enrollees

From 1994 to 1998, staff at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Denver expanded and evaluated its Cooperative Health Care Clinic. The model uses multidisciplinary teams to provide medical care to groups of elderly patients, as an alternative to the traditional means of monitoring and delivering care to plan members individually.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Chronic Care Initiatives in HMOs national program.

Key Findings

  • Evaluators reported the following findings from the 1992 study (at 12 months) in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society:

    • Use of the Cooperative Health Care Clinic "was associated with reduced use of ambulatory services such as acute and specialist visits, fewer emergency care center visits and fewer repeat hospitalizations."
    • "Higher levels of patient and provider satisfaction were observed among Cooperative Health Care Clinic participants."
    • "Aggregate cost savings were estimated at... $14.79 per participant per month."

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