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Better Back Care Program

Better Back Care Program
We were granted a $6 million Health Care Innovation Award from CMS for implementing the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has been selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s Innovation Center for a $6 million prospective award for its Better Back Care program.

UNC is one of only 39 awardees nationally and its Better Back Care program is the only spine program to be chosen among the second round winners of the Health Care Innovation Awards.  UNC’s Better Back Care program creates a new model of care for patients with back pain that will improve the patient’s experience and outcomes, reduce the cost of care and deliver an innovative method of financing care.

The Better Back Care program will create a medical neighborhood linking approximately 60 primary care providers with the UNC spine program, an existing multidisciplinary team of 10 specialty providers employing evidence-based, patient-centered approaches. This medical neighborhood will adopt evidence-based, coordinated care of demonstrated effectiveness for patients with new onset low back pain through guideline adherence, patient education and shared decision making, improved access to care, and care coordination. Nurse patient navigators will play a critical role by providing clinical support and care coordination for patients in the neighborhood to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time.

“The UNC Hospitals Spine Center provides back care that is patient-centered, high quality, and cost effective. With this $6 million award, we will be able to expand this approach to the patients of 60 top primary care physicians in the Triangle. The impact to patients, their families and the North Carolina economy of spine disease can't be understated. This is a terrific opportunity to improve care of patients suffering from back pain,” said Dr. Matthew Ewend, chair of neurosurgery in the UNC School of Medicine.


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