Baptist Easley recognized for preventing readmissions

EASLEY — Over the past three years, Baptist Easley has significantly reduced readmissions for Medicare patients treated for heart failure and pneumonia. The hospital had a 20 percent reduction in readmissions for these diagnoses from 2014-2015. This achievement was recognized in Columbia during a statewide meeting attended by more than 300 health care professionals.

Baptist Easley worked with other medical and community organizations to keep patients living with chronic diseases at home through a collaborative program called Preventing Avoidable Readmissions Together (PART). PART provides educational resources for providers across the state, along with opportunities to share experiences, innovations and best practices.

PART was established in September 2012 by the South Carolina Hospital Association, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Health Sciences South Carolina and the state›s Medicare quality organization, The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence.

Since joining the PART collaboration in 2012, Baptist Easley has launched several initiatives to improve transition of care for patients and to reduce avoidable readmissions. Initiatives included developing a care transitions community with the hospitals and many local home health agencies and skilled nursing facilities and also a clinically-focused follow-up telephone call program targeting identified high risk patients. Currently patients who qualify will now receive in-home visits and coordination with their primary care provider and community providers as well.

“By using this team approach, we hope to reduce barriers and ensure that our patients receive the care necessary for them to remain in their home setting or outpatient environment,” said George Helmrich, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Baptist Easley.

“Partnering together and connecting into the larger community is an innovative and effective approach that has proven successful. The PART program plays an important role in our overall goal to provide safe, high quality care for every patient,” commented Lorri Gibbons, RN, vice president for quality and patient safety at the South Carolina Hospital Association.

5,031 avoidable readmissions statewide have been prevented since the program began.