MUNDELEIN, Ill., Oct. 1, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Starting today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will impose severe reimbursement penalties to hospitals for avoidable and costly re-hospitalizations, which, according to CMS, cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $17 billion a year. Since almost one in four hospital patients who are transferred to nursing homes are readmitted to the hospital, Medline Industries, Inc. and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) today announced a major initiative to help hospitals and nursing homes reduce these avoidable hospital readmissions and improve quality of care.
Through an exclusive partnership, Medline and FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing are working to bring training and tools included in a unique nursing home quality improvement program proven to reduce hospital readmissions to nursing homes throughout the United States. This innovative program, called INTERACT™, which stands for Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers, is designed to improve resident care and reduce the frequency of potentially avoidable and expensive transfers of residents to the hospital by helping nursing homes improve the early identification, assessment, documentation, and communication about changes in the status of their residents.
An initial study of 25 nursing homes using the INTERACT program showed those facilities achieved a 17 percent reduction in hospital admissions among the residents. Additionally, nursing homes using INTERACT have been shown to treat patients in their facility without any complications and only cost Medicare about $200 instead of $10,000 or more.
"The goal of our partnership with Medline is to make INTERACT easier to use with state-of-the-art online education and training for nursing home administration and staff to help reduce avoidable hospital readmissions and improve resident quality of care," said Dr. Joseph Ouslander, senior associate dean of geriatric programs at FAU's College of Medicine and co-director of INTERACT with Ruth Tappen, Ed.D., R.N., Christine E. Lynn Eminent Scholar of FAU's College of Nursing. "The materials will be widely and easily accessible on Medline's online educational resource, Medline University."
Specifically, FAU will work with Medline to develop an interactive online implementation training curriculum and disseminate INTERACT quality improvement, educational, and clinical practice tools. The curriculum will be developed using leading-edge online educational technology, such as interactive education and simulation exercises using the INTERACT tools. The curriculum will be available exclusively through Medline University. More than 300,000 nurses and nursing home administrators are registered with Medline University, which offers more than 220 free CEs covering a broad health care curriculum for improving patient and resident care.
"We are very excited about our new partnership with Dr. Ouslander and FAU and to help in this important national initiative to reduce readmissions and improve resident and patient care," said Andy Mills, president of Medline. "INTERACT is already a proven program to help reduce readmissions among long-term care residents and our charge is to get more facilities using this terrific program by developing and disseminating state-of-the-art education and training materials through joint efforts with FAU."
The INTERACT quality improvement program targets three key strategies to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations: preventing conditions from becoming severe enough to require acute hospital care; managing selected acute conditions in the nursing home; and improving advance care planning for residents among whom a palliative or comfort care plan, rather than acute hospitalization, may be appropriate. Using INTERACT's tools and strategies, a resident with an early change in condition, such as a respiratory infection, can be treated in the nursing home based on expert-recommended protocols costing Medicare about $200 instead of $10,000 or more for a hospitalization and related complications and costs. Using such care in nursing homes nationwide could improve care, reduce complications from hospitalizations, and avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicare expenditures annually.
The INTERACT program and tools were initially developed by Ouslander and Mary Perloe, MS, GNP at the Georgia Medical Care Foundation with the support of a contract from CMS, and have been refined with input from direct care staff and national experts with the support of The Commonwealth Fund. For more information about INTERACT, visit http://interact2.net
The nation's leading provider of medical supplies to the long-term care industry and the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products, Medline manufactures and distributes more than 125,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, physician offices and home care dealers. Medline is headquartered in Mundelein, Ill. and has more than 1,100 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services. For more information on Medline, visit www.medline.com.
John Marks (847) 643-3309 Ann Fahey-Widman, (847) 643-3011
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