For 15 straight years, on the first day of the year, Kaiser Permanente has participated in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. This year’s parade was extra special, however, as it was the first time a Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group physician was selected to represent our region on the float. Neeraj Mendiratta, MD, Service Chief of Continuum Care, DCSM (Complex Care Program, SNF & Hospital Based Palliative Care) traveled to California with his family so they could watch him ride through the city of Pasadena on Kaiser Permanente’s float.
This year’s float riders and walkers had the opportunity to represent our medical excellence and innovation that continue to make an impact on the communities that we serve, through both the title and theme of our float, ‘Courage to Reimagine’ – which drew its inspiration from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – and the Rose Parade theme, ‘The Power of Hope’. Both themes embodied our continued vision and dedication to creating a healthier world. Our float was so well-received, in fact, that out of 70+ floats, we won the prestigious Wrigley Legacy Award for most outstanding display of floral presentation, float design, and entertainment.
Dr. Mendiratta had a fantastic time at the parade and he truly appreciated the opportunity to speak about our region’s Complex Care program with others while there. The Complex Care program is a physician-driven focused health care delivery program for the sickest and most vulnerable patients in the Mid-Atlantic States. Patients in this program have a terminal diagnosis or have experienced multiple admissions to the hospital. “Essentially, the Complex Care program provides a multi-disciplinary action plan specific for each of these very sick patients,” Dr. Mendiratta explained. “The physicians in the program each have an assigned group of patients whom they care for in a very complete and focused way for the entire duration of each’s patient’s life.”
Complex Care physicians share their mobile phone numbers with patients and their families. Physicians are available to their patients 24/7 via phone calls and text messages as well as offering extended office times, home visits, and more. Complex Care program physicians have a special relationship with their patients to truly understand the path to a longer life for each patient. And after three years of collecting data, the program has seen a significant mortality benefit for patients in the program (compared to similar patients outside of the program). “I attribute the success of the Complex Care Program to our amazing frontline complex care physicians, research nurses, and case managers”, Dr. Mendiratta said. “There is a huge trust factor when your physician and care team is so closely related to your health care, acting as the gate keeper for your path to prolonged health.”
Over 2,000 patients have gone through the program thus far, with 1,200 patients currently enrolled. The program certainly delivers on the ‘Courage to Reimagine’ and the ‘Power of Hope’, as we are enabling the quality of life that our sickest patients deserve by innovating on a traditional health care model. Tying the parade and Kaiser Permanente float themes to the Complex Care program, Dr. Mendiratta ended by saying, “We’ve reimagined how to use current resources to create hope for a future of medicine where patients with complex medical situations can receive the quality of life that they deserve.”
Thank you again to Dr. Mendiratta for his work on the Complex Care program and for representing Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States during the Rose Parade.