The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 19, 2013

Indiana center aims to reduce readmissions

INDIANA — Indiana Regional Medical Center will open the region’s second primary care resource center during ceremonies at 5:30 p.m Monday in the Overlook Building, 879 Hospital Road.

The new center joins Memorial Medical Center’s primary care resource center in Johnstown as part of a pilot program to help patients recover and maintain health after hospitalization.

It serves as an extension of primary care practices for target patient populations at risk for high readmissions, ensuring they continue to get the medical and other services they need in order to keep them from returning to the hospital.

Targeted patients include those diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure and heart attacks.

The centers are among six funded through the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative’s three-year Health Care Innovations Award grant from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Participating hospitals are creating the centers to focus on preventing re-hospitalization and reduce the overall cost of care. The Pittsburgh organization estimates savings of more than $40 million to Medicare alone.

”Many patients are discharged without understanding their illnesses or treatment plans,” Dr. Keith Kanel, principal investigator for the project, said in a press release. “Primary care physicians may not always communicate with each other to develop a coordinated post-discharge care plan for patients. Patients might not have the right prescriptions or be able to fill them, or they may take the wrong doses.”

Located behind the hospital in Indiana Regional Medical Center’s Overlook Building, the center has been customized to reflect the hospital’s community and culture, hospital leaders said.

It will be staffed by three nurse care coordinators and a pharmacist, funded through the grant. Hospital employees, such as diabetes educators, nutritionists, social service workers, behavioral health staff and respiratory therapists will provide supplemental care.

“Research has shown that all hospitals, not just (Indiana), can implement proven strategies to provide an improved discharge process that better prepares our patients for their transition to home,” hospital CEO Stephen A. Wolfe said.

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