During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to implement and fund "evidence-based interventions, such as patient navigator programs."
The health care law Obama signed in 2010 includes many provisions that use the term "evidence-based," and one section of the law specifically promotes patient navigators, which is someone designated to guide patients and their families through the complexities of the health care system. Here are a few of them:
• Establishment of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, chaired by the surgeon general, to coordinate prevention, wellness and public health efforts. Under the law, the council will "consider and propose evidence-based models, policies and innovative approaches for the promotion of transformative models of prevention, integrative health and public health on individual and community levels across the United States."
• A national public-private partnership for a prevention and health promotion outreach and education, headed by the secretary of Health and Human Services, "to raise public awareness of health improvement across the life span." The effort is to be developed in consultation with the Institute of Medicine, "to provide ongoing advice on evidence-based scientific information."
• Grants to states, local governments and nonprofits to encourage "evidence-based community preventive health activities in order to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities and develop a stronger evidence-base of effective prevention programming."
• Medicare evaluations of community prevention and wellness programs, to make sure that they are "evidence-based, and have demonstrated potential to help Medicare beneficiaries … reduce their risk of disease, disability, and injury by making healthy lifestyle choices, including exercise, diet and self-management of chronic diseases."
• Offers to provide employers with technical assistance to evaluate their employer-based wellness programs, so that they work to increase worker health status, lower absenteeism, increase productivity, reduce workplace injuries and lower medical costs.
• Establishment of a Primary Care Extension Program that educates primary care providers about "preventive medicine, health promotion, chronic disease management, mental and behavioral health services (including substance abuse prevention and treatment services) and evidence-based and evidence-informed therapies and techniques."
• Grants to groups that offer navigators under the health insurance exchanges to be created under the bill. Such navigators would "conduct public education activities to raise awareness of the availability of qualified health plans, ... distribute fair and impartial information concerning enrollment in qualified health plans" and the tax credits available to participants and provide referrals to consumer-assistance ombudsmen or state regulators.
We rate this a Promise Kept.