As part of its work to improve health care in the United States, the Aetna Foundation has awarded two grants totaling $325,000 to help doctors adapt to a rapidly changing health care system and growing health care needs. The funding focuses on training young doctors for the post-reform health care landscape, which aims to improve the patient experience and population health and to lower health care costs. “Doctors need to be part of the solution to meet the health care needs of different populations and rising rates of complex, chronic diseases,” said Gillian Barclay, D.D.S., Dr.PH., vice president of the Aetna Foundation’s national grant making. “That means we need bold new approaches to doctors’ training to create a modern, high-performing health care system that can provide high-quality care for everyone in the U.S.” The Aetna Foundation has contributed $150,000 to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM) to support its study of today’s medical residency programs, or the graduate medical education system (GME). The IOM study is looking at the governance and financing of GME in the U.S. The final report will recommend changes to medical residency programs to better prepare young doctors for 21 st-century health care systems, which all increasingly focus on patient-centered primary care, team medicine and health information technology. The study also is looking at ways to encourage more doctors to specialize in primary care to meet the demands of an aging and ever more diverse U.S. population. To conduct the study, IOM has appointed a 21-member committee with expertise in health care systems, health economics, health professions education, and financing and accreditation. The committee’s final report is expected in early 2014. The Aetna Foundation also has awarded $175,000 to the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers in New Jersey to establish a new fellowship program to train primary care doctors in “hotspotting,” a technique borrowed from advancements in city policing.
In medicine, hotspotting analyzes hospital readmissions, emergency room visits and other data to identify patients who use health care resources at abnormally high rates. The fellows will learn how to use sophisticated data analysis, coordinated care management and interdisciplinary teamwork to improve care for these “superutilizers,” people who typically have complex, chronic health conditions, lack a primary care doctor and by default wind up back at the emergency department again and again. The fellows will work with high-need, high-cost patients in Camden, one of the poorest and most crime-ridden cities in the country, where many residents rely on safety-net hospitals for all their health care.The Aetna Foundation funding will support four, two-year fellowships. The Camden Coalition fellowship program is led by Jeffrey Brenner, M.D., who was catapulted to national attention in 2011 by a New Yorker profile on his new approach to health care in poor, urban areas. Partners in the fellowship program include the Family Medicine Residency at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Chester, Pa., and Cooper University Hospital in Camden. About the Aetna Foundation The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna (NYSE: AET) and the Aetna Foundation have contributed $412 million in grants and sponsorships, including $18 million in 2011. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered more than 2.6 million hours since 2003. Aetna’s current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more information, visit www.AetnaFoundation.org.