Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes, account for the most health care costs nationally, yet are highly preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic health conditions that require care from several doctors, facilities and caretakers, often over many years.
At the same time, health insurance companies, the government and individuals spend billions of dollars yearly on health care services without optimum health outcomes. Often, patient care is uncoordinated with patients accessing care from Emergency Departments rather than primary care, patients feeling confused about treatments, missing appointments and not practicing prevention behaviors. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable in society (ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, uninsured and individuals with language barriers).
The Department of Nutrition & Public Health, within the School of Health & Natural Sciences, is offering a 12-credit certificate program in Health Care Coordination to prepare students to address these health care challenges. The certificate is open to all majors, and should be particularly attractive to majors in public health, social work, nutrition and nursing.
Graduates of the certificate program will act as educator, liaison and advocate for patients and their families to reduce health disparities and promote health. Upon completion of the certificate program, students will be able to to:
- Assess at-risk populations and specific patients for health risks and appropriate care coordination services
- Employ cultural humility to assess current patient understanding of health care needs
- Use motivational interviewing skills to help patients set goals for optimum health care
- Act as an advocate for the patient/family as they receive services throughout the continuum of care
- Identify resources available for patients that may enhance their self-care management (i.e. disease specific education or programs to manage chronic conditions)
- Establish and maintain relationships with patients, providers, health insurance agencies and community partners
The overall goal of the Health Care Coordination certificate program is to train graduates to be strong liaisons between patients, community agencies and health care organizations. This will increase preventative care and use of primary care providers, and decrease use of Emergency departments, unnecessary hospitalizations and poor health outcomes. The goals of the certificate are directly in line with the Mercy mission and will help students address health disparities.