At its annual Summer Meeting last week, the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) presented its prestigious Community Leadership Award to Rockdale Medical Center (RMC) in Conyers for its program that reduced readmissions and overuse of the emergency department (ED) and improved the health of the community. Marianne Freeman, VP, HR was there to accept the award on behalf of the hospital.
To assist underprivileged patients, reduce overutilization of the emergency department (ED) and save health care costs, the community implemented the Rockdale Health, Education and Linkage to Help, or HEALTH SafetyNet. It is a collaborative involving local government, businesses, health care providers and community partners to promote the health and wellness of residents of Rockdale County. Focusing mainly on the medically underserved and uninsured, the program served more than 100 individuals each year from 2012 to 2014.
In 2015, RMC, National EMS (which provides emergency medical services to Rockdale and surrounding counties), and the HEALTH SafetyNet developed the Community Paramedic Program, which is designed to improve the quality of medical care provided to Rockdale County residents. The program is intended especially for frequent users of ED services for chronic disease treatment and primary care services. These individuals are referred into the program through medical social workers, physicians, and other community liaisons. It provides medical financial assistance and enhanced weekly one-on-one visits with specially trained community paramedics that feature weekly health screenings, chronic disease management and education, medication reconciliation and supportive coaching. Additionally, care coordination is provided by a medical social worker.
The HEALTH SafetyNet has improved the health of the community in several ways, including by increasing patient involvement in, and responsibility for, achieving better health outcomes through patient-centered disease management and increasing medication compliance. Community residents also had increased access to primary and specialist care by being able to take advantage of free clinics and lower negotiated office visit costs.
The HEALTH SafetyNet and Community Paramedic programs have reduced non-emergent 911 calls, ambulance transports and ED visits. Additionally, the hospital’s readmission rate dropped from 9.3 percent to 7.9 percent.
“Proper focus on care coordination to reduce readmissions and preventing overuse of the emergency department are two essential parts of providing the highest quality patient care,” said GHA President Earl Rogers. “Thanks to the dedication and efforts of the staff at Rockdale Medical Center, the community is better able to access this care and is experiencing healthier outcomes. Rockdale Medical Center is most deserving of this award.”
About Rockdale Medical Center
Rockdale Medical Center is a 138-bed acute-care hospital that offers an extensive range of in-patient and out-patient services and leading-edge technology. Rockdale Medical Center is fully accredited by The Joint Commission which evaluates hospital patient care for quality, safety and value. Rockdale Medical Center is part of LifePoint Health®, a leading hospital company focused on providing quality healthcare services close to home. Learn more about Rockdale Medical Center at www.rockdalemedicalcenter.org.
About Georgia Hospital Association
Established in 1929, GHA is the state’s largest trade organization of hospitals and health systems providing education, research and risk management services to its more than 170 hospital and health system members. Additionally, it represents and advocates health policy issues benefiting Georgia’s citizens before the state legislature and U.S. Congress as well as before regulatory bodies.