Posted on February 01, 2010
Honestly, now: How many of you look at the postcard you get in the mail reminding you to get a checkup (or a blood pressure screening; eye exam, etc.) and immediately rush to the phone to make an appointment? Right, we thought so. New York wants you to be healthier, people, and now someone’s doing something about all those reminder flyers you get in the mail. They’re calling you directly. So now, you can throw away, but you can’t hide. A new initiative is being launched today in New York City that will notify people who are due for health services--and call them so they can’t wiggle out of it. Aimed at needy patients, the new Panel Management Program will determine when someone is due for a blood pressure screening or cholesterol check, for example--and then, gently but firmly, we hope, get on the phone and ask patients to schedule an appointment right then and there. The Health Department has partnered with 20 medical practices, and will use electronic health records to locate the patients. The two-year pilot program is being funded privately by Pfizer, and is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to reach out to needy New Yorkers. The goal is to catch high-risk New Yorkers before an emergency. Those targeted include patients with diabetes, heart conditions, or are obese. Last year, a modified program was tested in a few practices. City staff were lent to the practices to help do outreach—and as result, 567 patients with heart conditions were reached--and 60 percent of them went in for long-overdue testing.