Payer, 3 providers collaborate on mobile care effort in Charlotte

A health information exchange is enabling three healthcare organizations to coordinate care provided to needy patients in 2 mobile units deployed in Charlotte, N.C.

The organizations have formed ONE Charlotte Health Alliance and acquired two mobile health units that will offer medical, dental and behavioral health services to residents in public health high-priority areas of the region.

Atrium Health, Novant Health and the Mecklenburg County Health Department also are working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which will contribute $750,000 to support the mobile units for three years.

“What we know is that if you can find solutions that improve access, target social determinants and address long-term outcomes of health, you can dramatically change the outlook for an entire community,” says Anuradha Rao-Patel, MD, medical director at Blue Cross and an acute and chronic pain management specialist.

Providers are using Novant Health’s health information exchange to collaborate with each other, says Raki McGregor, vice president of consumer business strategy operations and implementation at Novant.

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“The health information exchange enables us to seamlessly communicate with one another and access patient health information, regardless of the electronic health record vendor, to deliver clinical services,” McGregor explains. “In the future, we will be able to offer video visits and telemedicine services, such as tele-stroke and tele-behavioral health.”

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The goal of the alliance is to address barriers to care and improve long-term health outcomes, spurred by a study that ranked the city poorly for upward mobility.

According to the study, 22 percent of responding adults said they did not have a regular source of care, another 20 percent did not have the funds to see a doctor, and about 200,000 residents were unable to visit a dentist because of the cost.

“Our health begins long before we go to the doctor; it begins in our families, workplaces and schools; the water we drink and the air we breathe,” says Alisahah Cole, MD, chief community impact officer at Atrium Health.

The mobile units are equipped to provide referrals to free and reduced-cost social services that include housing and food via a free community platform from Aunt Bertha, a website that helps users search for services and receive a list of resources. This enables community partners to provide aligned care rather than siloed care, according to Cole.

The mobile services currently are being offered in six ZIP Codes. Initial services include wellness education programs, blood pressure checks, cholesterol and glucose tests and weight management. A subsequent rollout will bring additional services to other community members who do not have easy or affordable access to care.

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