A modest revolution

Dr. Eugene Heslin. (photo by Dan Barton)

“I was very excited that we are actually moving things forward,” said Saugerties physician Eugene Heslin in describing his reaction to the announcement his practice had been included in a pioneering federally sponsored program, the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative. “It gave federal legitimization of what we described ourselves as trying to become.”

The goal of the ambitious federal test undertaken within four entire states and regions of three other states, including the Hudson Valley, is to aid in the establishment of no less than a new national model for the purchase and delivery of comprehensive primary care. Nationwide, 500 practices will be involved in this model program intended to improve health and reduce costs across our country — better health, better care, and decreased health-system costs. A separate federal initiative is encouraging experimentation in health systems with greater experience in collaboration.

Three Ulster County primary medical practices, including Heslin’s Bridge Street Family Medicine, were among the 75 in the Hudson Valley selected this past week to participate in the program. The federal government will incentivize primary-care medical practices through a per-capita care management fee for four years to support coordinated services on behalf of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries.

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Simultaneously, starting Nov. 1, six participating insurance plans in the region will offer these practices enhanced payments in order to support their provision of high-quality primary care. Hoping to cut costs and improve services, the payers are willing to invest in this test of enhanced primary care.

Selected to participate with Bridge Street were Hurley Avenue Family Medicine in Kingston and the Health Quest Family Practice in Highland.

Hurley Avenue Family Medicine is staffed by medical doctors Joel Mandelbaum, Chester Robbins and Matthias VonReusner, osteopath Mohammed Hamid and nurse-practitioner H. Jane Fein. Some of the same principals also practice in offices on Route 9W in Saugerties and in Catskill.

Dr. William Heffernan and nurse Ann Johnson staff the Highland office of Health Quest. Six of the 10 practices in the Health Quest family practice network were selected for program participation, more than any other group of affiliated practices involved in the CPC initiative in the Hudson Valley.

Bridge Street Family Medicine in Saugerties is listed as having four medical doctors (Fiza Nazir, Laura J. Decker, Heslin, and Soe P. Kyaw) and two osteopaths (Elizabeth M. Costley and Todd Baldwin).

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