Time and again it has now been proven that timely access to care and even modest changes in diet, exercise and medication can reduce the risk of getting serious diseases or significantly slow their progression and impact. Once a chronic condition develops, it is persistent, rarely curable and requires management over a long period of time. Treatment continues, and the course is unpredictable.
Given these realities in health care today, we must pursue prevention, early intervention and aggressive self-care.
Partners in Care's focus on changing the shape of healthcare concisely reflects our belief: As the dominant needs of health in America have shifted, we have to change the way health care is delivered.
In the past, as new health problems emerged, we sought a cure and return to health. Now, with chronic disease accounting for 78% of health care expenditures, we seek prevention and self-care to prevent decline.
Today health care in America is in crisis. We spend vastly more than any other nation on earth, yet our health outcomes rank 37th.
We have nearly 45 million uninsured, mostly working individuals. Even for the insured, coverage does not always fit the needs. Care is often difficult to access, and the one size offered often does not fit all.
The needs of our society for health care and social services have changed dramatically. A longer life span, rising chronic illness, increased population diversity, dispersed families, financing constraints and the shift of care from the hospital to the home leave many people vulnerable. They confront increasing gaps in insurance coverage, little or no insurance and scant access to needed medical care and social services in a fragmented health care system. The need for change in the delivery of health care and social services is apparent, but the issues are complex.
• The cost of family health insurance is rapidly approaching the gross earnings of a full-time minimum-wage worker, squeezing many out of access to care.
• 50% of all bankruptcies in this country are related to crushing medical expenses of the under or non-insured.
• Every child born after the year 2000 has a one in three chance of developing diabetes and for minorities the chance is one in two. Diabetes and its consequences can lead to blindness, amputations, heart disease, kidney disease and other devastating problems.
• Although diabetes is one of the most common and most costly health problems; it is also one of the most preventable. Better management and education can reduce complications more than 50%, delay the onset of complications by 15 years, and increase lifespan five years.
• We know that medications save lives, yet a medication error claims a life in the United States every 71 minutes. Every 71 minutes someone dies due to a preventable problem. Many older adults – perhaps our parents -- suffer needlessly and die needlessly from medications errors—too much medication, too little, too many side effects, or the wrong medication.
Partners in Care was born to address these issues, to help redesign the systems of care and payment, to facilitate the identification and testing of new interventions, to improve and advance care, and to strengthening people’s ability to actively promote their own health and mitigate the impact of chronic conditions.
Partners’ mission is to serve as a catalyst to shape a new vision of care by partnering with organizations, families and community leaders in the work of changing healthcare systems, changing communities and changing lives. In all our work, Partners relies on our operating principles – collaboration, innovation and impact – to find new ways of bringing more effective, more efficient health and social services to diverse individuals and communities.
And to create innovations with the impact to affect a thousand lifetimes!