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Monday, October 24, 2011

Company Tries Common Sense Approach To Improving Health Care

A California-based health care company has found some common sense approaches to improving care while cutting costs for its Medicare customers.

For example, CareMore offers free rides to the doctor’s office to avoid missed visits; they clip toenails to make sure patients don’t trip on rugs; they’ve set up a wound center to ensure a small cut doesn’t lead to an amputated foot in diabetic patients. These sound like little things, but the company says they’ve had a major impact.

In fact, CareMore reports overall costs are 18 percent lower than the industry average and hospitalization rates are 24 percent below average. The company also points to hospital stays that are 38 percent below normal and amputation among diabetics are an astounding 60 percent lower than average.

CareMore operates 26 centers across the Southwest, with more than 50,000 Medicare Advantage patients. But its philosophy could be spreading now that the massive health care company, Wellpoint, Inc., bought CareMore for $800-million, with 34-million patients nationwide.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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