Fred Neebe of Vestal, New York goes to his doctor in 2012 for a checkup and to get an unusual order. “It was a recipe for taking a Tai Chi class,” says the 87-year-old retired electrical engineer. “Still sticks with me,” says Nibe, a free, 12-week class offered by a local YMCA that “Tai Chi made me more aware of my walking characteristics.”
His doctor knew Neebe, an avid skier and hiker, had previously fallen and fractured his ankle. This put him at risk of another fall. “This fall was disappointing and slowed me down,” says Neeb. But he was lucky, confined to one boot for a few weeks. “It could have been much worse,” he admits.
Falling is a major problem for adults 65 and older: “Every 13 seconds, an older adult is treated for an emergency department fall,” National Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Sessions. Director of Dr. Says Debrati. and control. “One older adult dies every 20 minutes.”
Neebe’s internist, Frank Floyd, MD, medical director Joint health services‘Endwell Primary Care Clinic, knows that all are very good outcomes for patients. Years ago, Floyd’s grandmother fractured her hip, and “she never recovered from her injury that fall,” he says. Today, Floyd is on alert for screening of his older patients.
Floyd’s employers, UHS, a 916-bed hospital and health care system based in Binghamton, New York, are dealing with an issue that is similar to a hidden epidemic and that has rarely been touched by hospitals or health systems. Every year, one-third of seniors fall, and fall which are the leading cause of unintentional deaths among older adults.
And in Broome County, where Binghamton is located, Falls’ comprehensiveness was off the charts – about the highest in the state – before the nonprofit UHS laid out an evidence-based strategy in 2012 to address them. Problems in the county “topped the list”, noted Broome County Health Department Director Claudia Edwards.
Working with the local health department and others in the community, UHS has been instrumental in reducing the falling rate in Broome County by 25 percent between 2010 and 2013. Since September 2012, UHS has screened approximately 17,500 older patients, with educating and referring or providing interventions to reduce patients’ risk of falls. UHS saw hospitalization and ER visits for fracture-related fractures in Broome County 18 months after implementation. As a result of the success of UHS, the CDC is expanding the program nationwide.
“Screening for problem risk is an important aspect of the entire process,” Edwards says, adding that “turning it off is not an easy process.”
But UHS managed to pull it off. Falls are not an issue many hospitals and health care systems address. This is challenging, and there was no incentive to focus on fall prevention under traditional payment systems. Fixing those who fell is attractive under the fee-for-service service.
“America spends $ 34 billion on direct medical costs per year alone,” Owerre said. “Falls are also the result of significant medical costs and are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions.” Consider that in 2012, the average cost for hospitalization for a fall in Broome County was $ 23,136; Typical ED trip for a cost of approximately $ 3,000.
With the arrival of Obamacare, stones on medical care have changed. Affordable Care Act Imposed a premium on prevention and lit a match for the traditional fee-for-service system. Instead, health insurers, including Medicare and Medicaid, are increasingly putting hospitals at financial risk or creating incentives for institutions to keep people out of the hospital and avoid readmission. For example, Excels BlueCross BlueShield has introduced pay-for-performance incentives to 75 percent or more UHS patients who need screening.
Instructor Gail Goldberg and class participants practice Tai Chi for older adults to help prevent falls.Mary McFadden / Broome County Health Department
Result: Lots of healthcare delivery innovation is happening. A hallmark: Health systems and public health departments are increasingly participating. He is on display in Broome County. “All health care providers realize that we are very expensive and our efficacy is mediocre at best,” Edwards notes. “We have to step back. We have learned enough about prevention.”
“In many instances the health department and medical providers are in different classrooms,” Floyd says. “The Affordable Care Act has increased UHS’s awareness of the health needs of the population and to increase staffing and infrastructure to better care for patients with chronic diseases and those who are at risk.”
Given that the rate of falls in Broome County was very high – resulting in a death rate of about 25 percent higher than the New York State average, for example – in 2010 the CDC set about implementing proven community-based programs like Tai Chi classes and the like I contacted Edwards. Stepping On, an exercise and falls-education program designed for older adults. Classes were started in the county, but Edwards knew that to make teeth, the region’s largest health system needed to be on board.
In 2012, the CDC looked to help the pilot make a promising intervention, called STEADI, or prevent elderly accidents, deaths and injuries. STEADI uses scientifically tested clinical interventions to help healthcare providers detect their patients’ fall risk, identify variable risk factors, and provide effective interventions.
Edwards contacted UHS Chief Medical Officer Rajesh Dewe to get UHS to implement a provider-focused, evidence-based program to prevent falls. “I told him, ‘We need a champion,” Edwards recalls. “They gave us Dr. Floyd.”
Floyd knew that UHS needed to be activated upon fall prevention. “The fastest growing segment of the county’s population is 85 and older,” he said. But looking at the intervention, he determined, “It’s not going to work in the real world.” The biggest hurdle: Adding yet another screening to a large list of screenings – with pain, tobacco and alcohol use, depression, and more – is that primary care physicians were already kicking shoes in an office visit.
He met with the Department of Nursing Administration and Information Technology and summarized the algorithm and the team fit it into the workflow of physicians. UHS was fully implemented Electronic health record system, And the five most important questions in the algorithm were teased and placed as an indication for physicians in the EHR. If a patient answered “yes” to any question, the trigger would go up.
“The CDC provided us with the material and allowed us to create a system that would work,” says Floyd, who tested the Falls Risk Assessment at the Endwell Clinic. The team’s work enabled physicians to incorporate degradation initiatives into their work and provide patients with a risk for marked or falls with an array of interventions. This includes referring patients to evidence-based community programs such as tai chi, prescribing vitamin D or a cane or other walking device, reviewing medications for risk deterioration or providing referrals for physical therapy or UHS’s own The Balancing Program is included, which sends patients to physicians’ homes to help balance the risk of falls at home and to conduct in-house assessments.
The program has been rolled out to 18 UHS sites, and since mid-September, 41,300 screenings have been conducted on 17,459 Broome County patients. Floyd states that the system has also attained the pay-for-performance mark set by ExcelS for 75 percent of patients, which received a false assessment in the year ending July 1.
In addition, UHS operated STEADI for the CDC, and prompted the government agency to make changes that would make UHS fall prevention efforts more sustainable.
“A significant change was made to CDC, which was to develop a more focused development of providers,” the hour notes. “Since providers have limited time for each patient, we created Steady Step One. Steady Step One focuses on primary care physicians and asks them to conduct three screening questions and two clinical interventions for patients 65 and older. it is said.”
The tool not only provides a realistic tool for busy providers, but also “ensures two evidence-based clinical interventions – drug review and vitamin D supplementation – are a default in patient care,” says Hourty. ” The pilot said we also showed its importance “combining STEADI with the provider’s electronic health record system.”
“There is an administrative burden for UHS for this,” Edwards notes. In addition to modifying its IT systems and redefining patient flow, UHS trained hundreds of providers. But in the changing economics of hospital care, investing in prevention and health can be a positive bottom line.
Thanks to the efforts of the local Department of Health to establish UHS efforts for community-based programs and home-based fall prevention programs, even more interventions for older residents at risk of falls for most providers in Broome County Huh.
“The Department of Health has established excellent programs,” Floyd says. “That’s what sets us apart.” Since taking a Tai Chi class, Niobe has not had another fall, and he remains active.
Says Edward, “The Affordable Care Act was the big stick for hospital people and public health people to say: ‘You need to see what can be done outside the hospital to improve health.” “We need each other. Together, it’s prevention and they realize that it saves.”