Affordable Care Act reforms already underway
The United States Supreme Court decision is hugely significant. But many of the reforms embedded in the law are already underway, particularly at hospitals. Hospitals will continue to improve care, focusing on increasing quality, creating efficiency across the continuum of care, and investing in health care information technology. Hospitals are also establishing and strengthening strategic partnerships or combining with other hospitals or other health care providers. These partnerships will lead to better coordinated care and allow the provision of care to people across a variety of settings for the full course of treatment. Here are just a few examples of the way Harrison Medical Center is addressing the needs of our community before the Affordable Care Act was in place:
Harrison HealthPartners Primary Care Doc imbedded in Kitsap Mental Health Services. – In January, Harrison HealthPartners (HHP) began an innovative collaboration with Kitsap Mental Health Services (KMHS) to provide primary medical care on site to a segment of their outpatient clients most at risk for medical problems due to their behavioral health issues. We have an internal medicine physician seeing patients once per week at KMHS. This care includes after-hours access to the on-call physician for primary care issues. By providing these patients with a primary care provider we expect to reduce use of the ED for non emergent problems and avoid inpatient admissions because they are being followed both for their medical needs and their behavioral health needs. Clinical data between the two systems can be viewed and shared as well.
Additionally, KMHS was recently awarded a $1.9m, three-year CMS Innovation Grant that will include HHP participation. One goal is to place KMHS behavioral health specialists in HHP primary care clinics to assist our providers with the behavioral health needs of their patients. Again, the overarching goal is to reduce ED use and unnecessary hospital admissions.
Emergency Department Committee – Called “Preventing Avoidable Emergency Dept Visits,” this group meets regularly to address very complex issues around mental health, substance abuse, socio-economic issues, access to primary care, patient education. This group is comprised of doctors, nurses, ED services, case management, social work and mental health. Community partners include Group Health, the Peninsula Community Health Services, pre-hospital (Fire Department); it will soon expand to include Kitsap Mental Health and other community partners.
Accomplishments include developing ways to make appointments for patients in the ED when patients require follow up to ED care; we collaborate with Peninsula Community Health Services before person leaves ED to ensure patient has follow up; to avoid unnecessary repeat-visit to ED.
Harrison ED case managers in the Emergency Department – When we identify patients with high utilization rates, we will work with these patients and help them get the right care in the right health care setting.
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Harrison Medical Center is a not-for-profit hospital offering medical, surgical, and emergency services at five locations—Bremerton, Silverdale, Port Orchard, Belfair, and Poulsbo—to serve the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas. To learn about Harrison’s many healthcare services, call 866-844-WELL or visit www.harrisonmedical.org.