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Silver Cross Hospital Supports Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois and Illinois Hospital Association

Landmark Collaborative to Improve Patient Quality at Illinois Hospitals

Joliet, IL (February 28, 2011)—Silver Cross Hospital is excited to support Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) and the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) as they join forces to reduce Illinois hospital readmissions through a new quality initiative—Preventing Readmissions through Effective Partnerships (PREP).  Partnering with nationally-recognized experts from the Division of Hospital Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Society of Hospital Medicine, PREP will help Illinois hospitals significantly reduce the rate of patient readmissions by 2014 through the following five key initiatives:

 

  • Redesigning hospital discharge processes;
  • Improving transitions of care;
  • Developing and improving palliative care programs;
  • Reducing readmissions from infections; and
  • Measuring reductions in readmissions using standardized metrics

 

According to Scott Sarran, M.D., BCBSIL Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, “This collaboration leverages IHA’s experience and relationships with hospitals, the expertise of the academic community and resources from BCBSIL.  We expect this collaboration to have a positive impact on improving the way hospitals, physicians and other health care providers transition patients to outpatient care in the community.  PREP is a four-year commitment to improving patient care throughout the State of Illinois. With this project, we hope to achieve higher-quality care at a lower cost. We believe investing resources to improve transitions of care will have major payoffs in costs and quality.”

Locally in Will County, Silver Cross Hospital is excited to support this initiative as it prepares to open its Replacement Hospital on Feb. 26, 2012.

“We are committed to ensuring that our patients receive the highest quality care, which includes sending patients home at the right time when they are healthy to prevent unnecessary readmission,” said David Schlappy, Vice President Quality and Medical Staff Services for Silver Cross Hospital. “Through the BCBSIL’s and IHA’s PREP initiative, we are enhancing our patient educational tools and resources that help people regain their health in a home environment because it is too disruptive for our patients and their caregivers to have to go back to hospital.”

“At Silver Cross Hospital, our focus is to create a multipronged approach to reduce hospitalization for heart failure,” said Parag Jain, M.D., cardiologist at Silver Cross Hospital.  “We want every heart failure patient in the Silver Cross network to be on our radar screen. Our team is designing protocols that will keep healthcare providers marching to the tune of keeping our heart failure patients healthy enough to avoid the hospital.”

Schlappy says Silver Cross is developing an inpatient Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) case manager role that will provide a readmission interview and post-discharge follow up to understand the patients specific needs. “Through enhanced CHF education, the CHF case manager will coordinate with the patient’s physician to provide excellent post-discharge follow up,” says Schlappy. “In addition, the case manager will work with local nursing homes to better coordinate patient care needs between our facilities.”

“PREP has great potential for both improving the quality of health care provided to Illinoisans, and reducing costs,” says IHA President Maryjane A. Wurth. “The Illinois hospital community has long been committed to quality improvement and patient safety, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has been a strong advocate for improving the lives of its members. This partnership is an outstanding example of how the provider and payer communities can work together to transform health care in Illinois.”

The Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard 2009 ranked Illinois 44th in the rate of Medicare 30-day readmissions as a percentage of admissions, with a rate of 20.3%, an increase from 19.6% in 2007. Nationally, the median is 17.5% and the average for the top five states is 13.8%.

So far, 201 Illinois hospitals have pledged to reduce readmissions by the end of 2013 with the goal of raising the state’s performance from the bottom quartile to an upper quartile.

A critical component of PREP is patient education—assessing what a patient’s unique needs are before going home, then making sure they have the information they need to ensure a smooth transition.  This patient/provider partnership includes standardized discharge pathways that highlight medications, follow up, pending tests, self-management instructions, and goal setting. 

Under PREP, each participating hospital will take specific actions to reduce readmissions.  With the financial support of BCBSIL, IHA, through its Quality Care Institute, will provide hospitals with extensive technical assistance, strategic approaches, tools, and other resources.  An integral part of this initiative will include a standardized approach to discharge planning, which is critical to addressing the readmissions issue, as well as a focus on reducing infections.  

In 2009, there were over 50,000 readmissions to Illinois hospitals, with each patient spending, on average, five additional days in the hospital. Dr. Sarran points out that improvement of the Illinois readmission rate to the current national average has the potential to save or avoid costs of approximately $150 million dollars in the first year.

“Over time, these savings will go back to the taxpayers and businesses in Illinois, as the state (Medicaid), the federal government (Medicare), employers, and individual policy holders in the form of lower health care costs,” said Wurth. “More importantly will be the improved health and safety of patients, and the satisfaction hospital and physician partners receive from being able to deliver improved care.”

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895.  Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last six consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction has begun to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in 2012 in New Lenox.  To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

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