EHIM, Inc. COO Endorses New Strategies for Caring for Our Frail Elderly
SOUTHFIELD, Mich., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The following can be attributed to Jeffrey Lewis, Chief Operating Officer of EHIM, Inc.:
Military medics have been saving lives on the front lines all over the world where the United States military is engaged. Medics have performed emergency services that often meant the difference between life and death for our soldiers. Their medical skills have been honed under stressful, wartime conditions.
These men and women are among the army of heroes who walk among us every day. However, when they return to the U.S., their certifications and credentials often don’t match civilian workforce requirements. Sadly, our nation’s health care system is not equipped to assist in transforming their skills, experience, and work ethic into appropriate non-military jobs.
Nathan Anspach, CEO of Phoenix-based John C. Lincoln Health Network’s Accountable Care Organization (ACO), saw these heroes as a new force, a Medicare health care corps. While gaining their medical credentials in the U.S., Anspach recognized that former military medics can be instrumental in helping design and implement strategies to aid the legions of frail Medicare recipients manage their health care lives. Anspach’s vision: employ this health care corps to stop the revolving door of hospital readmission for Medicare patients. To accomplish this, he created a three-pronged strategy:
First, focus on “preventable readmission” of the frail elderly who are discharged from hospitals. By monitoring vital signs and getting needed medications, costly readmission to a hospital or emergency room can be avoided.
Second, work with these patients to ensure they get services needed to maximize their independence. This will keep them out of nursing homes;
Finally, serve as personal health care advocates. Health care corps members can answer questions to help Medicare patients navigate the discharge process and beyond.
Anspach and his colleagues recognized that the future of heath care – Medicare in particular – is based primarily on the ability to create and implement innovative solutions that treat and manage the care of frail elderly patients. A management plan starts by helping Medicare patients understand instructions from their medical team, then moves on to managing their medications. But, it doesn’t stop there. A seamless recovery includes active daily intervention of a health care worker who serves both as the Medicare patient’s health care transition coach and a lifeline to the outside world.
An absence of coordinated-care transitions leads vulnerable Medicare patients back into an ER room or a nursing home. Because these fragile patients often see multiple physicians, there is a heightened possibility of medical errors, duplication of services, increased costs and haphazard care. Military medics skilled in war zone medical care are trained multi-taskers who are ideal for preventing such health care fragmentation.
The Lincoln ACO Plan has had an immediate and remarkable impact at John C. Lincoln.
Since the program was implemented in October 2012, 309 frail Medicare patients have been discharged and only 5 (or 1.62% year to date) have been readmitted. For this same time period last year, 64 (or 20.7%) people were readmitted.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has published the tables on the three most frequent conditions for re-admit:
Condition Readmission rates nationally Lincoln Plan --------- ---------------------------- ------------ Heart failure 24.7% <1% ------------- ---- --- Heart attach 19.7% <1% ------------ ---- --- Pneumonia 18.5% <1% --------- ---- ---
At a time when one in five Medicare beneficiaries discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days costing an estimated $12-17 billion annually, the value proposition of the John C. Lincoln program is an extraordinary beginning.
Creating a solution to aid frail elderly by employing talented and dedicated former military medics underscores that the Medicare revolving readmission door can be slammed shut. Imagine implementing the Lincoln ACO Plan in every state.
The need is great and the time for action is now.
About Jeffrey Lewis & EHIM, Inc.
Prior to joining EHIM, Inc. as Chief Operating Officer, Jeffrey Lewis served as the President of PS2 Health Care and the Heinz Family Philanthropies. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
EHIM, Inc. is an innovative solution to containing costs in healthcare. Operating as a third party administrator, pharmacy benefit manager and health solutions consultant, EHIM, Inc. is true to what the name stands for: custom-designed programs tailored to the education and overall Employee Health Insurance Management. Founded in 1987, EHIM, Inc. is a certified WBENC woman-owned business servicing members throughout the country. For more information, visit www.ehimrx.com or call 248.948.9900.