About CTI

Thank you for your interest in the Care Transitions Intervention®. Below you will find information about its history, key components, research items, and current team members.


Developed by Dr. Eric Coleman at University of Colorado, School of Medicine in 2003, the Care Transitions Intervention® has been researched through random control trials and proven to reduce readmission rates in various populations. This model was based on Dr. Coleman’s experience as a primary care provider and therefore started with end user as the focus — complex patients going in and out of the hospital. Often, he would not have known that his patients had been in the hospital. He found his patients were receiving differing instructions between care team members, patients didn’t know who to call with questions, and their confidence decreased with medication shifts. More often than not, post-hospitalization, patients became their own care coordinators — which can be overwhelming.

The Care Transitions Intervention®

The Care Transitions Intervention® (CTI) is an evidence-based, short-term model that complements a systems’ care team by activating patient engagement in their health management.

During a 30-day program, clients with complex care needs (and/or family caregivers) will work with a Transitions Coach®, to build self-management skills that will ensure their needs are met during the transition from hospital to home. This intervention is comprised of a five (5) encounters: a hospital visit (when possible), a home visit, and three (3) follow-up phone calls after the home visit has occurred.

Uniquely critical to the program is the role of the Transitions Coach®. Transitions Coaches® immediately tap into what motivates and matters to the patient and puts them in the driver’s seat to navigate through personal skill development. Through the guidance of a Transitions Coach®, patients will identify a 30-day goal, practice skills, and gain confidence in four key areas of health, known as the Four Pillars®:

  • Medication self-management: Client/family caregiver is knowledgeable about medications and has a medication management system.

  • Use of a patient-centered record: Client/family caregiver understands and utilizes the Personal Health Record (PHR) to facilitate communication and ensure continuity of care across providers and settings. The PHR is owned and operated by the client/family caregiver.

  • Primary Care and Specialist Follow Up: Client/family caregiver schedules and completes follow-up visit with the primary care physician and/or specialist physician and is prepared to be an active participant in these interactions.

  • Knowledge of Red Flags: Client/family caregiver is knowledgeable about indicators that suggest their condition is worsening and has an action plan about how to respond.

The Transitions Coach® empowers the client and/or family caregiver to develop self-care skills that help them assume a more active role in their health. The Transitions Coach® does not fix problems and does not provide skilled care. Rather, Transitions Coaches® model and facilitate new behaviors, guide a patient on Skill Transfer® opportunities, and practice communication strategies. Further, they build patients’ confidence to successfully respond to common problems that arise during care transitions.

Key Findings

Through the initial random control trial and countless demonstrations among various CTI Program Providers, the research studies show that people who receive the CTI versus those who don’t were:

  • Significantly less likely to be readmitted to a hospital.

  • Less likely to incur further high cost utilization.

  • More likely to achieve self-identified personal goals around symptom management and functional recovery. Further, majority of the patient goals reflect a better quality of life and improved functional status.

  • Benefits were sustained for five months after the end of the one-month intervention.

For most, there will be a next hospitalization, but the skills acquired and learned in this intervention will help if that time comes. When the model is delivered as intended, staying true to the component and “pure coaching” approach, organizations can expect reductions in readmission rate of 20-50% (reduction depends on current readmission rate).

Transitions Coach

The Transitions Coach® position is unique and most effective when it's the professional’s only job. In this role, they have the time to guide a patient toward learning and developing new skills, better understanding their health and who or what is in their network of resources.

Transitions Coaches® do not ‘do’ for the patient but rather help them critically think, problem-solve, and understand how to navigate needs for better health management. This is done through motivational interviewing techniques, open-ended questions, active listening, knowing local care models, and self-management education methods. A Transitions Coach® is not an educator, case manager, or options counselor – it’s new, it’s patient-first, and it works.

We strongly encourage organizations to treat a Transitions Coach® as a new position or line of service and not an added tool into an individual staff members toolkit. Transitions Coaches® are a complement to the care team by increases patients understanding and use of other care team members (provider, in-home nurse, care manager, pharmacist, CHW, etc.) and how each of those roles help the patient during the 30-days and beyond.

The CTI Team
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Michelle Comeau
Care Transitions Intervention® National Program Director
Michelle leads the training, development, and on-going support of Transitions Coaches® in the vast network of CTI Program Providers. She guides new partners through a readiness process to ensure successful implementation of the CTI program. Previously, she served as an instructor, community-workshop leader, and a county program manager in Northern California for multiple Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs (CDSMP). Recently, Michelle was a statewide Director of Development for evidence-based health prevention programs. She is proud of her purpose to help people help others in the most effective and fun way possible.
Heidi Kramer
CTI Instructor and consultant
Heidi trains and supports the development of Transition Coaches® across the country. Previously, she was a Transition Coach® during the original research for the nationally-recognized Care Transitions Intervention®. She was integral in CTI curriculum development, design, implementation and dissemination of regional, national and international training plans as well as the web-based training platform. Currently, Heidi is a Certified Specialist in Poison Information at the Rocky Mountain Poison Center.
Traci Cornelius
CTI Instructor
Traci has worked in the aging field for over 30 years, with experience in long term care, home health, hospice, case management, and acute care. She began working at the Riverside County Office on Aging in Southern California in 2000, and now supervises several case management programs, including Family Caregiver Support, and their local Care Transitions Intervention®. In 2009, Traci had the opportunity to launch CTI with a partnership between the ADRC and the county hospital in Riverside. Having coached nearly 1000 patients, she is passionate about CTI, and eager to see new Transitions Coaches® embrace their exciting role.
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Lynn Schemmer-Valleau
CTI Instructor
Lynn Schemmer-Valleau has been working in the field of aging and dementia care since 1992. She joined Multnomah County Aging, Disability & Veterans Services in 2009 as the Coordinator of their Evidence Based Health Promotion programming. As a AAA Manager she started her involvement with Care Transitions® in 2014, as the program was developing in a national demonstration project with CMS. Lynn and her team have a robust Care Transitions® program in partnership with other AAA's around Oregon. Their Metro Care Transitions Program has solid hospital partnerships and proven outcomes for patient success and return on investment for the hospital. Lynn became a CTI trainer in 2021. Lynn and her husband, two teen boys and two rescue dogs live in Portland and enjoy all of the beauty of mountains, ocean and trees that the Pacific NW can offer.
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