PeaceHealth Southwest Success in Reducing Unnecessary ER Visits|
— Low-Acuity Emergency Patients Increasingly Receiving Appropriate Care
in Non-Emergency Settings—
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has responded effectively to the state of Washington’s recent decision to end payments for emergency services provided for Medicaid patients, if those patients receive care for non-emergency medical conditions.
A report issued today by the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) titled "Emergency Department Utilization: Assumed Savings from Best Practices Implementation" shows PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has responded effectively to the change. The report analyzes the results of a coordinated program of seven best practices implemented through a partnership between the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (WA-ACEP) and the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). The program was developed in response to the legislature’s call for a policy solution to high emergency department use by Medicaid patients. The state campaign is titled "ER is for Emergencies."
To help achieve these positive results, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and many other Washington hospitals have subscribed to the Emergency Department Information Exchange (EDIE). Hospitals using EDIE can quickly and accurately identify high-use emergency patients, who in the past have sometimes used hospitals’ inability to share patient information as an opportunity to visit multiple emergency departments.
"With the implementation of the seven best practices program, we now have some powerful tools to make a significant impact on inappropriate utilization of the Emergency Department, and also to discourage narcotic seeking behavior," said Marty Bell, Emergency Department Medical Director at PeaceHealth Southwest. "Our Physicians and Physical Assistants are assisted by a team of Emergency Department social workers to help skillfully navigate disposition challenges. EDIE and the Washington State Prescription Monitoring Program (WaPMP) give us actionable information contemporaneously so we can more accurately and efficiently assess, treat, and arrange appropriate and timely follow-up for patients. Having proactively designed patient specific care plans that can be viewed throughout the system will make it much more likely that the plan can be enacted consistently no matter where the patient presents."
"What is most exciting about this effort is that it promotes the patient receiving the right care, at the right time, in the right place. That is quality care!" said Kathleen Lipiec, Social Work Manager at PeaceHealth Southwest. "The EDIE system shares essential information between facilities which allows our social workers to work effectively with the patient in accessing primary health care, mental health follow-up and many other needed services. The key to this is working “with” the patient. We help to identify and problem solve barriers to care. Our community based primary care providers, insurance case managers and mental health agencies have been enthusiastic partners in this process."
The full report can be downloaded from the HCA website.