'Greater service, greater buy-in'

Friday, August 24, 2012

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Provider Joel Segar says a pilot program that he’s participating in has reduced hospital readmission rates—and increased home medical equipment compliance.

As part of the program, Erlanger Hospital has hired a patient transition liaison to coordinate home health, nursing, HME and outpatient pharmacy services for patients with COPD, CHF and diabetes. Segar works with the liaison to provide HME and education.

“Every hospital needs to have a program like this,” said Segar, president of ContinuCare HealthServices, which is owned by Erlanger Hospital. “It just makes sense.”

The program is one of many collaborative efforts underway since the 2010 Affordable Care Act introduced incentives to create healthcare partnerships, known as Accountable Care Organizations. 

As a hospital-based provider, Segar may have an advantage, but independent HME providers will have to find ways to work with hospitals, too, says Alan Morris, director of alternate care programs for The VGM Group.

“Only about 10% of hospitals own HMEs, so 90% of them are going to rely on outside entities,” said Morris.

Segar said participating in the pilot has paid off. 

“The greater service we provide, the greater buy-in we get in the usage of the CPAP devices,” said Segar.