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Grant from insurer funds two outcomes research projects

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1998 - Winter/Spring


Insurance giant Aetna Inc. has awarded more than $750,000 to the School of Medicine to fund research aimed at improving health outcomes. The grants are among $6 million awarded to 13 institutions through the company's Quality Care Research Fund.

The two grants are as follows:

$468,066 to the School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Health
System in collaboration with Aetna subsidiary U.S. Quality Algorithms to compare managed care and fee-for-service insurance in the care and outcomes of elderly patients with heart attacks. This study will build on the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project (CCP), a national Medicare quality improvement project, to compare tests, procedures, specialty care, readmissions and mortality among those elderly heart attack patients treated under managed care and those treated under traditional fee-for-service.

"Managed care is emerging as an important system of administering medical care to the elderly individuals, and this grant will allow us to evaluate how well it serves elderly patients after heart attacks," said Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., who will lead the study. Dr. Krumholz is associate professor of medicine (cardiology) and director of the Center for Outcomes Research at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

$300,000 to the School of Medicine to study the effectiveness of Bright Beginnings. This volunteer-based mentoring program that encourages vulnerable, young mothers to develop healthy lifestyles for themselves and their children and to make good use of illness prevention resources. The study will examine the effectiveness of this broad-based, parent support program by evaluating such measures as completion of well-baby check-ups, inappropriate use of the emergency department, the number of preventable injuries and each mother's sense of parenting competency.

"We believe that Bright Beginnings could serve as a model to help alleviate some of the substantial health problems faced by underserved, inner-city children and their families," said John M. Leventhal, M.D., HS '76, professor of pediatrics and medical director of the program, which has served 115 families in greater New Haven during the past three years. Added Elizabeth Demir, chair of the Bright Beginnings advisory committee: "This Aetna grant will allow us to expand the number of successful matches between mothers and mentors this promising program can sustain each year and, if study results substantiate our early findings, we should be able to attract continued funding."

The program was launched in 1995 by the Friends of the Children's Hospital, a volunteer organization affiliated with the Department of Pediatrics.

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