Can Health Care Quality Improve and Cost Decrease? Pilot Project in Atlantic City May Show the Way

Exploring low-cost health care delivery alternatives for low-wage earners in Atlantic City, N.J.

In 2007 and 2008, Mercer Human Resource Consulting (now simply Mercer) joined with a local union and a health system in Atlantic City, N.J., to pilot test a new primary care delivery model called the Ambulatory-Intensive Caring Unit. The unit aims to improve care for patients with chronic serious illnesses while lowering health care costs and the cost of health insurance by helping patients insured by the union's health plan better manage their own health conditions.

Key Results:

  • The Atlantic City-based model, the Special Care Center, opened in August 2007; by the end of 2008, the center was serving approximately 800 mostly low-income patients with chronic illnesses. Two surveys found a generally positive reception to the center among patients.
  • Project staff produced two reports to assist in the development and evaluation of the Special Care Center:
    • Interviews with prospective Special Care Center patients, documenting their needs.
    • A plan for an evaluation of the center's progress in five key areas.

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