RMC Recognized for Efforts to Reduce Readmissions
RMC has lowered readmission rates for congestive heart failure and pneumonia by 20 percent, and this achievement was recognized in Columbia recently during a statewide meeting attended by more than 200 health professionals. From left are some of the team members: David Hill, Director of Home Care of RMC; Ann Ittenbach, Director of Pharmacy; Stacy Gilliard, Unit Based Educator for 3 West; Melody Vaughn, Director of Respiratory Care; Dr. Randolph Smoak; Crissy Brooks, Clinical Improvement Coordinator; Indun Whetsell, Director of Quality Management and Medical Staff Services; Penny Ryant, Nurse Director of Progressive Care Unit/3 West/Medical-Surgical Stepdown Unit/Dialysis; Carol Phillips, Director of Care Planning and Customer Service; and Kartina Harrison, Unit Based Educator for Progressive Care Unit.
Over the past two years, the Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg & Calhoun Counties (RMC) has significantly reduced readmissions of Medicare patients treated for congestive heart failure and pneumonia.
RMC has lowered readmission rates for congestive heart failure and pneumonia by 20 percent, and this achievement was recognized in Columbia recently during a statewide meeting attended by more than 200 health professionals.
The exceptional results were achieved during the facility's work with a South Carolina collaborative healthcare 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.
RMC’s Clinical Improvement Coordinator Crissy Brooks, RN, BSN serves as team leader and noted that RMC initiated various strategies in reaching their 20 percent reduction goal. According to Brooks these initiatives include formulation of an interdisciplinary team that meets monthly to discuss strategies, improved education with patients before they leave the hospital, a one-time free home visit within five days of discharge for teaching and follow up through Home Care of RMC, telemonitoring by a registered nurse who remotely monitors patients’ vital signs and weight from their homes, two free visits a week for one month to RMC Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center, disease specific education from a nurse, pharmacist, dietitian, case manager, respiratory therapist and others. Also, before the patient leaves the hospital, RMC staff schedules a follow-up appointment with the patient’s primary care physician or a specialist within seven days of discharge. Patients who do not have a physician are set up with RMC’s Discharge Clinic until a medical home such as RMC Primary Care, the Family Health Center or the Free Clinic is found for them. RMC is currently collaborating with local churches, faith-based organizations and the Sheriff’s Office to form a community outreach program that is designed specifically to help prevent avoidable readmissions.
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 healthcare 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, MD, 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 percent, ranking ninth out of 53 U.S. states and territories in the rate of improvement.