Care providers see opportunity in new care model for intellectually, developmentally disabled adults
Western New York providers and client advocates heard Tuesday from a nationally renowned leader in developmental medicine and other health care providers about models of care that may well impact the future of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the country.
Dr. Matthew Holder, CEO of the Lee Specialty Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky, and a global medical adviser to the Special Olympics, told a packed auditorium at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center providing interdisciplinary care for IDD patients is challenging, but, “it’s all worth it,” when you see the difference it can make in their lives.
“We know people with developmental disabilities tend to fall through the cracks,” Holder said.
But that’s changing in Louisville, where the Lee Specialty Clinic is treating thousands of IDD patients using a care model that combines interdisciplinary coordinated care, professional mentorship and patient advocacy with a determination to produce better health outcomes.
Renowned for his work in caring for adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders, Holder said the clinic’s team of care providers has found success in diagnosing and treating previously undiscovered physical ailments such as ear infections and hiatal hernias in patients who, because of the nature of their disabilities, were unable to communicate their symptoms. After receiving appropriate treatment and freed of the pain brought on by their physical ailments, many IDD patients have shown marked behavioral improvement, Holder said.
In addition to the humanitarian aspects of the integrated system, the Lee Specialty Clinic has saved $1 million in Medicare expenses since it opened in 2014.
The Lee Specialty Clinic is seen as a model of service integration and care coordination. Memorial Chief Operating Officer Sheila Kee said it’s a model that will inform the delivery of care at the Golisano Center for Community Health, which will provide comprehensive integrated health care services to adults with special needs when it opens in the spring of 2016.
“It is critically important for us to work together to better serve those who live among us
– and who often have nowhere else to turn,” said Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo, who noted the development of an integrated service delivery model will also mean breaking down reimbursement and delivery silos and driving investments into community-based, self-directed services.
“The changing health care environment necessitates a reconsideration of the status quo,” said JoAnn Lamphere, deputy commissioner, person-centered supports, New York State Office of People With Developmental Disabilities. “If we work together we can learn to do better.”
Kee said the Golisano Center will not be able to achieve its objectives without collaboration and service partnerships. A planning committee composed of members from Memorial and the IDD care community will soon be formed to address issues such as provider education, information exchange, care management and care coordination.
That committee will lead to the establishment of a service council to ensure feedback and input when the Golisano Center for Community Health opens next March, she said.
Tuesday’s event was sponsored by the Golisano Foundation, New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, People Inc. and its Rivershore affiliate, The ARC of Orleans County, Niagara University, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
“We celebrate people coming together galvanized by a vision,” Niagara University President the Rev. James J. Maher said in his welcoming remarks. “We look at this as an investment in human beings and in human dignity.”