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Health Today: Cardinal Care

by Larry N. Cook, MD, executive vice president for health affairs last modified Oct 28, 2010 03:30 PM

(Editor's Note: Health Today is a regular column from health care professionals at UofL that features information ranging from health issues to UofL faculty/staff benefits.)

We are reminded almost every day of the oft quoted admonition that "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household." I think that applies to our campus when we take for granted the physicians, dentists and nurses of UofL Health Care.

UofL Health Care, comprising the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Public Health and Information Sciences, as well as University of Louisville Physicians (ULP) and University of Louisville Hospital, extends its work through more than 5,000 physicians, dentists, nurses and staff who deliver hundreds of thousands of clinical encounters annually.

We know from market research and regional and national peer reviews that they are highly respected clinicians as well as research scientists and educators. Their role in educating the next generation of clinicians keeps them current in their clinical work in ways that cannot occur in "private practice," and their work in an academic health center with more than $120 million in leading edge biomedical research provides them with perspective and information that translates into better clinical care every day.

In my view, there is no substitute for the environment of an academic health center as it impacts the delivery of clinical care. If you think about those health care settings with the greatest reputations, I believe you will find that they all have strong academic ties.

And this high quality care is conveniently available to you through Cardinal Care. In 2009 we developed proposals to provide UofL employees access to UofL Health Care that involved easier access to primary care — including waiver of primary care co-pays — and three disease management programs.

We opened two new primary care sites with easy access to our colleagues — one at Cardinal Station at Central Avenue and Third Street, and one at Chestnut and Preston in the Outpatient Center. Each of these is staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners who usually can provide appointments within 24 hours. Referrals to UofL Health Care physicians are facilitated by these offices as well. Through Cardinal Care pediatric patients are seen by Department of Pediatrics faculty and treated at Kosair Children's Hospital.

UofL Health Care continually implements systems and processes to improve the patient experience, including things not typically top of mind for patients. Over the past two years our colleagues in University of Louisville Physicians have been implementing a state-of-the-art clinical information and electronic health record. ULP also has begun a program of customer service — including quarterly customer assessments, feedback and improvements — that have had measurable effects. Further, ULP, having constructed and organized within the Outpatient Center, has begun the process of integrating the practice organization in ways that will promote yet further coordination of services and clinical care for patients and families.

In the coming days you will have the opportunity to choose your health care plan option for 2011. We believe so strongly in the quality of our health care professionals that we worked with Human Resources to develop Cardinal Care, a plan option that uses only UofL physicians, and we've built in incentives for you to choose it. Primary among those incentives is a lower monthly fee than the fees associated with the other options.

Human Resources also is providing its own incentive — a $100 gift card for the first 500 people who choose Cardinal Care during open enrollment and who were in another plan option this year. Cardinal Care provides easy access to service oriented, quality primary care, facilitated referral to UofL Health Care specialists and clinical care in an environment that is improved by the educational and research mission of our colleagues. We are dedicated to providing you with the best care in a confidential and service oriented fashion that you can find in Louisville — and perhaps anywhere in the nation.

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