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Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 May;31(5):1016-21. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0859.

A new corps of trained Grand-Aides has the potential to extend reach of primary care workforce and save money.

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  • 1Center for Health Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA. garson@virginia.edu

Abstract

Because the Affordable Care Act will expand health insurance to cover an estimated thirty-two million additional people, new approaches are needed to expand the primary care workforce. One possible solution is Grand-AidesĀ®, who are health care professionals operating under the direct supervision of nurses, and who are trained and equipped to conduct telephone consultations or make primary care home visits to patients who might otherwise be seen in emergency departments and clinics. We conducted pilot tests with Grand-Aides in two pediatric Medicaid settings: an urban federally qualified health center in Houston, Texas, and a semi-rural emergency department in Harrisonburg, Virginia. We estimated that Grand-Aides and their supervisors averted 62 percent of drop-in visits at the Houston clinic and would have eliminated 74 percent of emergency department visits at the Virginia test site. We calculated the cost of the Grand-Aides program to be $16.88 per encounter. That compares with current Medicaid payments of $200 per clinic visit in Houston and $175 per emergency department visit in Harrisonburg. In addition to reducing health care costs, Grand-Aides have the potential to make a substantial impact in reducing congestion in primary care practices and emergency departments.

PMID:
22566441
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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