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San Diego
Saturday, May 18, 2024

UCSD, County Awarded $535K Grant for Staff Integration Program

A $535,000 grant will be used to fund a local pilot program aimed at unifying medical staff in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart disease.

The county of San Diego’s Aging and Independence Services and UC San Diego Extension are working with a professor at George Mason University in Virginia to launch the online classes for the extension’s spring lineup as part of Team San Diego.

Funding was provided by The California Endowment and the Alliance Healthcare Foundation.

Evalyn Greb, chief of longtime care integration at the county’s Aging and Independence Services, said that the goal of the program is to create a virtual team for each patient, from physicians and nurses to office staff and senior center employees.

The goal of the program is to ease the disconnect for care providers when patients are moved from hospitals back to their homes or on to nursing homes.

“A new culture will be realized,” she said. “There will be a whole constellation of people communicating online or by phone and working with the same patient.”

The $535,000 will be used to fund the program until June 2009. In the spring, an eight-hour online course will be offered for $35. In the summer, there will be a six-hour, in-class training session.

Greb said that the program is intended to reach current employees at local health care and hospital systems as well as the staff at various social service agencies.

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Health Care Alliance Receives Local Accreditation:

The San Diego office of TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. was included in the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission’s accreditation of the company’s four hub offices across the country.

TriWest is a Phoenix-based private company that was founded in 1996. It acts as a contractor between the U.S. Department of Defense and its health care entitlement, Tricare, when health care can’t be supplied by a military organization.

Under Tricare, health care is provided to 2.9 million military members and their families in a 21-state region. Active duty military members and their families, as well as retirees and their families, are offered the plan.

The accreditation helped TriWest establish a standard of quality for best business practices, said Kathleen Fliehler, vice president of health care services. It also helps to ensure patient safety and access to care.

Other accredited offices are located in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Honolulu; and Tacoma, Wash., all of which are cities with a strong military presence, according to Fliehler.

URAC is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that promotes quality in health care through its accreditation programs.

TriWest had previously received accreditation from URAC for health network case management, disease management and utilization management, as well as provider network accreditation.

The company employs 2,000 with a staff of 200 in its San Diego office.

Other local health care organizations that are accredited by URAC include American Specialty Health Inc., Health Net Federal Services, KP OnCall LLC, United Behavioral Health and Anthem UM Services Inc.

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Chamber Honors Two Health Care Businesses:

The Del Mar Regional Chamber of Commerce awarded two health care organizations at its annual awards held Feb. 8 at the chamber’s gala and casino event.

San Diego Medical Services Enterprise was named Business of the Year and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Inc. received the Community Business of the Year award.

SDMSE is an ambulance provider that serves the city of San Diego through a public-private partnership between the city and an Arizona-based medical transportation provider called the Rural/Metro Ambulance Corp.

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts is a Carlsbad-based nonprofit organization that provides free reconstructive plastic surgery to children with physical deformities.

Three other health care organizations were nominated for Business of the Year, including AMN Healthcare Inc., Scripps Clinic and Scripps Health. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was also nominated.

Send health care news to Jaimy Lee at

. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3107.


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