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June 2005 Issue

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Study to Improve Chronic Care

Published June 2005

The Academic Health Center has joined a national collaborative that will work to improve the care of patients with chronic illness.

Chronic (long-term or frequent) illness affects more than 100 million Americans. Eighty percent of Medicare recipients have one or more chronic illnesses, which account for about 75 percent of U.S. health-care dollars spent.

UC will work with the Health Alliance, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and teams around the country to better define programs and identify best practices for managing chronic illnesses such as asthma, depression, diabetes, hypertension and chronic heart failure, among others.

This year-long initiative, called the Academic Chronic Care Collaborative, is a partnership between the Association for Academic Medical Colleges and Improving Chronic Illness Care, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"As a whole, the United States is set up very much as an acute-care system (for rapidly developing illnesses)," says T.J. Redington, MD, who will lead the teams, "yet most of the patients we see are living with chronic illness.

"It's important that we come up with strategies for managing chronic illness in our clinics and hospitals," says Dr. Redington, who is community health director for the Health Alliance and medical director for Ohio's Medicaid program, as well as an internal medicine professor at UC. 

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