Noteworthy News

Hospitals Test New Approach to Frequent ER Visitors

In a foundation-funded experiment, six hospitals across the country are trying a new way to care for patients who are thought to visit their emergency rooms too often.

With financial support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the hospitals are employing a patient-centered approach that seeks to identify why certain patients visit their ERs so often and then attempt to address those causes in ways that ultimately will improve such patients’ health while reducing ER costs.

Among the reasons the hospitals have found that certain patients visit their ERs too often are language issues with their doctors; lack of money to fill prescriptions; transportation issues; fear of disappointing their doctors; and more.

Overuse of emergency services is especially challenging for urban safety-net hospitals because the communities in which they are located so often have many low-income and uninsured patients as well as patients whose native language is not English.  Those communities also often lack an adequate supply of primary care physicians.

MetroHealth of Cleveland has dubbed its program “Red Carpet Care” and is employing advanced practice nurses to coordinate the care of the hospital’s most frequent ER patients.  The program also is experimenting with new approaches to paying for the care of these patients.

Learn more about this new approach to serving frequent ER patients in this articleiStock_000000522737XSmall from Becker’s Hospital Review.

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