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Meadville Medical Center Achieves Health Care Efficiency and Effectiveness through Care Coordination Initiative

November 08, 2017

A small number of individuals drive much of the cost in the American health care system. Care coordination has been used effectively to identity super-utilizers––people who overuse emergency departments and hospital inpatient service––and improve outcomes, reduce readmissions to hospitals, and eliminate unnecessary emergency department visits.

Care coordination focuses on increasing patient access to information and appropriate care, consistent communications, and adherence to treatment and follow-up.

Meadville Medical Center, Meadville, Pennsylvania, coordinates care for adults and children with complex health and social needs through its Community Care Network. The medical center collaborates with local government, health and human service agencies, and care coaches from local colleges and universities. Students are trained through an elective course. As health coaches, they call and visit patients with chronic diseases each week. These contacts enable them to identify any potential patient needs or barriers to care before they become serious illnesses.

Meadville Medical Center leadership recently shared their story during an American Hospital Association Rural Hospital Executive Education Series.

Meadville Medical Center’s President and CEO Philip Pandolph, and Tracy Meure, RN, spoke about Meadville’s Community Care Network and the work of its care coordination team. Screening was done for more than 2,800 patients and it was found that more than 59 percent of them needed services beyond their initial care event at the hospital. These four diagnoses were the most common among patients requiring additional assistance:

  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperlipidemia (Abnormally high concentration of fats or lipids in the blood)
  • Depression

Patients also needed services to address issues such as medication management and nutrition guidance.

During the first year of their coordinated care service, 84.5 percent of all patients experienced stabilized or reduced hospital utilization; and 76.7 percent of patients experienced stabilized or reduced emergency department use.

The medical center saw a 38 percent reduction in total hospitalization costs per patient. Mr. Pandolph stressed these outcomes:

  • Better health because more patients are receiving appropriate medical and community-based services
  • Lower health care costs
  • Greater productivity, which includes increased attendance at school and fewer work absences for patients and caregivers

For additional information, contact Timothy Ohrum, vice president grassroots advocacy.

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