Over the past two years, Abbeville Area Medical Center (AAMC) has significantly reduced readmissions of Medicare patients treated for heart failure, pneumonia, COPD and “all cause” (readmission for any reason). AAMC’s reduction in readmission was 20%. The hospital was one of only two hospitals in the state that received the award in all four categories.
The hospital's achievement was recognized in Columbia during a statewide meeting attended by more than 200 health professionals.
“This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to providing quality care both during and after a hospital stay to keep our patients well and at home,” stated Rich Osmus, AAMC CEO. “We are very fortunate to have a compassionate staff that believes in going the extra mile in caring about the health of our patients.”
The exceptional results were achieved during the facility's work with a South Carolina collaborative health care improvement program, Preventing Avoidable Readmissions Together (PART), which provides educational resources for clinical staff from across the state along with opportunities to share experiences, innovations and best practices.
AAMC used several innovative methods to reduce its readmission rates. Emily Wallace, RN, discharge nurse, was assigned to work with patients who had diagnoses that show high risks of being readmitted. Wallace works with patients when they are admitted to educate them on their health condition, continues the education throughout their hospital stay, makes sure that the necessary arrangements are made for follow up care, medications, etc. and then makes a follow up call within 48-hours after their discharge from the hospital to ensure that patients are doing well and that their needs are being met.
The hospital also partnered with Abbeville County EMS to implement the Community Paramedic Program where paramedics see patients the day following discharge from the hospital. AAMC hired Heather Martin, RN, as a Care Transition Nurse to assist EMS in making sure patients are transitioning in the home as expected.
AAMC collaborates with Abbeville Nursing Home and the hospital’s home care division, Health Related Home Care, to reduce readmission rates of each organization’s patients.
PART was established in September 2012 by the South Carolina Partnership for Health and the state's Medicare quality organization, The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence.
"Reducing preventable readmissions is an important part of our statewide efforts in South Carolina to improve the quality of health care delivered to every patient. We're very pleased to see these results as we continue to focus on helping patients avoid a return to the hospital," said Rick Foster, M.D., senior vice president for quality and patient safety at the South Carolina Hospital Association. SCHA is a member of the Partnership for Health.
Overall, South Carolina has lowered readmissions by 15%, ranking ninth out of 53 U.S. states and territories in the rate of improvement.
CAPTION: Emily Wallace, RN, discharge nurse (left) and Heather Martin, RN, Care Transition Nurse (right) display the Preventing Avoidable Readmissions Together (PART) award received by Abbeville Area Medical Center.