Dr. Jeffrey Brenner Named MacArthur Genius

Published on October 3, 2013 by

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Primary care physician Dr. Jeffrey Brenner was recently awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” for his dedication to improving the lives of his community’s sickest – and most expensive – patients. Early in his career, Dr. Brenner quickly recognized the need to create a health care delivery model to better serve high-needs, high-cost patients:

“As we dove deeper into the data, we found that 1% of patients were responsible for 30% of costs. It was just so clear that people weren’t getting their needs met and we were wasting a lot of money,” explains Brenner.

In 2009, Dr. Brenner founded the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, an organization working to decrease costs and improve health care quality in Camden, New Jersey. The coalition brings together social workers, nurses, physicians, administrators, hospitals, health services organizations, and clinics to coordinate care for the most complex patients. Through this approach, Brenner’s team has been able to reduce hospital visits and costs by 40 to 50 percent.


Maine’s Community Care Teams

Dr. Brenner and the Camden Coalition team are frequent visitors to Maine, providing guidance to Maine Quality Counts on the statewide development of Community Care Teams and to Maine DHHS staff to identify better ways to reach and serve high-risk MaineCare enrollees. “We are fortunate to have some of the brightest minds in the country helping us. We are privileged to work with Dr. Brenner!” says Helena Peterson, RN, MPH, Community Care Teams Program Manager. Dr. Brenner has connected Maine teams to a network of resources from across the country with expertise in care coordination for complex patients.

Maine’s Community Care Teams (CCT) initiative provides multidisciplinary care management support to some of the state’s highest-need patients. These teams include independent organizations of various types, including home health agencies, large hospital systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers, community mental health organizations and partnerships of primary care practices.

The ten teams are geographically distributed by region to serve pilot practices across the state, with each CCT serving populations of at least 10,000 (in primarily rural regions) and up to 50,000 or more patients (in more urban areas).

Thanks to a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Dr. Brenner helps mentor Maine’s “Vanguard” CCT, the Kennebec Valley Care Team at MaineGeneral Health. The team works with Camden Coalition staff to develop data systems to identify high-risk patients and receives consultation to improve outreach to community organizations, with a goal to improve the support for these high-need patients.

To learn more about how this type of support can change a patient’s life, watch our Partnering with Patients video to see what successful patient-provider partnerships look like in Maine.


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