To control costs, Gundersen Lutheran Health System targets a relatively small group of patients—that 1 to 2 percent of patients at risk for hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and other complications.

Beth Smith, R.N., executive director of patient and family-centered care at the La Crosse, Wis.-based health system describes the group as “complex patients.” Speaking at a health care design conference in Chicago last week, Smith noted that medical complexity is not the only determining factor. A patient might have multiple chronic conditions, but is keeping them in control and has adequate familial support to help stay on track.

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