Public health, HCHC look to decrease re-admissions after stay in the hospital
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
The Henry County Public Health department is working with Henry County Health Center to decrease the number of readmissions after a hospital stay.
“It’s still kind of in its planning stages,” Travis Johnson, community health director, told the board of health on Thursday.
Johnson noted that a big push with the affordable care act is to not have patients go back to the hospital once they have been discharged.
“If the hospital can take a sick patient, get them healthy and discharge them, how do we keep them healthy? Hospitals everywhere are struggling with how they are going to be able to do this,” said Johnson.
“From a public health perspective, we’re right there,” continued Johnson. “We’re raising our hands, saying, ‘Hey, look at what we do. That’s what we do.’”
Johnson noted that they have been working with the hospital on a plan involving the network of critical access hospitals that they are affiliated with, such as the University of Iowa or Great River Medical Center.
The plan is to work on keeping people healthy in their homes, such as through having a nurse visit the home seven to 10 days after the patient is discharged from the hospital.
“There is tremendous value in actually having a nurse going into the home and actually be able to sit down and go through and answer questions, review discharge instructions, make sure medications are taken care of,” said Johnson.
He said that the public health department already does do health promotion visits, but it is not used often.
“We do have a one time nursing visit that’s out there, so basically we’re going to be able to partner our program with what the hospital’s trying to do, and hopefully we’ll be able to get our nurses out there seeing more clients and more patients and keeping them in their homes and healthy and that they’re following through with their discharge instructions and whatever else that they may be given,” said Johnson.
Right now the initial plan is to look at specific diagnoses that have a higher risk of re-admission such as patients with pneumonia, diabetes, congestive heart failure or psychiatric issues.
“It’s a great idea, it should be done, no question,” said board Chair Bob Welander, though he questioned which entity would fund the visits.
Johnson replied the hospital is looking into grant funding, though public health funding may be used for part of it.