News | October 31, 2014

American College of Cardiology Patient Navigator Program Completes Hospital Selection

Program seeks to lower readmission rates for heart attack and heart failure patients

October 31, 2014 — The American College of Cardiology announced 35 selected hospitals that are pioneering a team approach to keep patients healthy and at home following admission for heart attack or heart failure. The hospitals from across the country are the first participants in the ACC Patient Navigator Program, which is the first program of its kind in cardiology and supports national efforts to reduce unnecessary patient readmissions.

“The Patient Navigator Program is a unique collaboration between the cardiovascular care team, patients and families to manage the stress of hospitalization for complex conditions in a way that allows patients to return home, remain healthy and avoid the need for readmission whenever possible,” said ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, M.D., FACC. “The program coincides with national initiatives to reduce readmission rates for patients with cardiovascular conditions. More importantly, it will directly benefit patients and their families.”

Nearly one in five Medicare patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to their original diagnosis. Readmissions can be related to issues ranging from the stresses of the initial hospitalization, to patient fragility at time of discharge, a lack of understanding of discharge instructions, and the inability to carry out discharge instructions.

As of Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services increased penalties for hospitals with excessive 30-day readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and three other non-cardiac conditions to a maximum of 3 percent of related CMS reimbursements. Penalties were implemented beginning in 2012 and maximum penalties have increased annually by 1 percentage point.

After an initial implementation and assessment period, hospitals in the Patient Navigator Program will implement a variety of evidence-based processes to help their patients avoid readmissions. Processes can include scheduling seven-day follow up appointments and discussing and providing the patient with documentation of their treatment regimen, all prescribed medications and community resources. Established programs will serve as models that can be implemented in other hospitals as the initiative grows. AstraZeneca is the founding sponsor of the ACC Patient Navigator Program.

Below is a list of the 35 participating hospitals, chosen because of their commitment to quality as demonstrated by participation in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry and Hospital to Home programs:  

1.  Advocate Sherman Hospital, Elgin, Ill.

2.  Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Green Bay, Wis.

3.  Baptist Health Louisville, Louisville, Ky.

4.  Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis, Mo.

5.  California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco

6.  Christiana Care Health Services, Wilmington, Del.

7.  Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia

8.  Fairview Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital, Cleveland

9.  Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville, Ala.

10. Indian River Medical Center, Vero Beach, Fla.

11. Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis

12. Lynchburg General Hospital Centra Health, Lynchburg, Va.

13. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington

14. Mercy Hospital, Portland, Maine

15. Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa

16. Montefiore Medical Center, New York

17. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, N.J.

18. Olathe Medical Center, Olathe, Kan.

19. Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland, Ore.

20. Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health, Reno, Nev.

21. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles

22. St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, Conn.

23. St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport, Conn.

24. Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, Texas

25. Tacoma General Hospital Multicare Health System, Tacoma, Wash.

26. Trident Health, Charleston, S.C.

27. University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora, Colo.

28. UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

29. University of Utah Health Care, Salt Lake City, Utah

30. Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, Nashville, Tenn.

31. VCU Pauley Heart Center, Richmond, Va.

32. WakeMed Health and Hospital, Raleigh, N.C.

33. West Jefferson Medical Center, Marrero, La.

34. Western Maryland Health System, Cumberland, Md.

35. Wyoming Medical Center, Casper, Wyo.

For more information: www.cardiosource.org/acc

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