California physician to direct Vermont chronic disease care program

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(Host) A former California physician will direct Vermont’s efforts to improve the lives of people living with chronic diseases.

Doctor Craig Jones started work last week as director of the "Blueprint for Health."

That’s the "chronic care initiative" created by Governor Jim Douglas and incorporated into health care reform nearly two years ago.

Jones will be in charge of developing ways for physicians across the state to help coordinate care for patients with such chronic conditions as diabetes, heart disease or asthma.

He says patients should expect to get more comprehensive care from a team made up of doctors, nurses, social workers and others.

(Jones) "What they should experience is a more complete approach to their health care. They should have all the things that they have: The close relationship, the knowledge, the evaluations and planning with their doctor. But then they should also have educators, and coordinators who can help them to understand how to do this on a daily basis who can help them to understand how to adapt to the changes they need to make and who can reinforce that on a daily basis."

(Host) State officials say chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Vermont. Treating chronically ill patients accounts for 75% of the $3 billion spent on health care in the state each year.

Before moving to Vermont, directed a program that took free asthma treatment and medicine to 120 schools in Los Angeles. He’s trained as an allergist and an immunologist.

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