Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The Williamsburg Regional Hospital was the site of a special event. South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) , along with Senator John Yancey McGill, hosted a celebration recognizing the hospital as the first in the state to enroll 100 percent of their target population under the Healthy Outcomes Plan (HOP). Healthy Outcomes Williamsburg is one of 46 plans submitted by South Carolina Medicaid-designated hospitals targeting more than 8,500 chronically ill, uninsured, high utilizers of emergency department services as part of SCDHHS’ HOP initiative. Healthy Outcomes Williamsburg focuses on providing a medical home and plan of coordinated care for patients with asthma, COPD, hypertension, diabetes and/or a behavioral health condition that frequent the hospital ER for treatment. “The Healthy Outcomes Initiative was put into motion as a method to develop medical homes for patients who have had little or no medical insurance and have had to rely on emergency room visits to manage their illnesses. An ER is not designed to manage chronic disease conditions – the ER is for emergencies,” said Sharon Poston, Williamsburg Regional Hospital chief executive officer. “With Healthy Outcomes Williamsburg, our chief nursing officer, Bambi Floyd, and her team have been able to develop a medical home for these patients where they are seen by providers who manage chronic disease states. Without this brain-child of SCDHHS, these patients would still be seeking disease management from ERs. This is a giant step in the right direction.” One such patient to benefit from the plan is Richard Goodman. Goodman suffers from high blood pressure and allergies. Before he was enrolled, his visits were spent in the emergency room where he was faced with most than $400 in costs. Goodman attended the event. He said because of plan where he has regular visits with a doctor, he hasn't had a need to visit the ER. "I would try to get by because before I couldn’t afford it," said Goodman, a former assembly worker. "Sometimes I would be sick but I'd have to make it through." Williamsburg Regional Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Bambi Floyd led the program. "For the community, this means continuity of care, population education and personalized, ongoing case management, resulting in better outcomes and a healthier population," said Floyd. Tony Keck, director of SCDHHS attributed much of the success of the program to Floyd and her staff for their "ingenuity" in bringing the program to fruition. The effort included the involvement of ER nurses who conducted screenings on patients before they left the ER, the use of a nurse practitioner as a clinical lead who could provide screenings and set appointments for the patients to meet with her and a flexible staff who was comfortable in fulfilling many roles. “These plans are key in changing how we deliver health care to some of our most vulnerable citizens by making hospitals the center of a community collaboration that will offer the necessary resources to help people live healthier while reducing overall medical costs.” Keck said. This isn't the first time the hospital has been recognized for its accomplishments. In 2011, the hospital was named the South Carolina Office of Rural Health’s 2011 Outstanding Rural Practice of the Year. In 2012, the hospital was recognized by HealthStream with an Excellent through Insight award for "Overall Patient Satisfaction". Keck said Senator McGill and the legislature has been working closely with the SCHHS. "He's trying to help the legislature and help us build a vision for what rural health care looks like," said Keck. "And the heart of rural health care is coming from rural hospitals. That’s a lot different than just putting more money into the system. Its thinking about what is it that communities really need, how an we re-organize the money, how can we invest appropriately, and that makes all the difference in the world for us to have advocates like him in the legislature helping us put forward new ideas and new programs." McGill thanked Keck and the SCHHS for the initiative. “The General Assembly is focused on improving the health of South Carolinians using state-based leadership and solutions,” said Senator McGill. “We are proud to support programs like HOP, that provide flexibility for South Carolina hospitals and providers to develop strategies to deliver more comprehensive and cost-effective health services tailored to those in their community that need it the most.” For more information on the Healthy Outcomes Plan program, visit msp.scdhhs.gov/proviso/site-page/hospital-clinic-innovations.