Nashville, TN – October marks both the beginning of Medicare’s hospital readmission penalty program and Respiratory Care Week. Alana HealthCare is bringing attention to each through Comprehensive Respiratory Outcome Management (CROM), a respiratory health management program demonstrating vast improvements in quality of patient care, and significant cost reductions for hospitals.
The American Lung Association estimates that more than 12 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the disease is believed to affect twice as many individuals. Over time, all COPD patients will reach a stage of the disease resulting in chronic respiratory failure. Though COPD patients are living with a chronic condition, the historical trend in patient care has been to treat respiratory failure episodically, through emergency care using expensive, and often temporarily effective, acute procedures. The resulting increase in patient readmission rates drives up the COPD cost curve, a problem facing hospitals across the nation. In 2010 the total annual cost of COPD nationally was nearly $50 billion, exceeding those associated with heart failure. Of that amount, hospitalizations account for 25%, or $12.5 billion, of the total COPD cost each year. Perhaps more concerning, a staggering 25% of COPD patients will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, resulting in additional costs ranging anywhere from 18% to 50% more than their initial admission.
A Medicare report released in August of this year predicted more than 2,000 hospitals nationwide will face financial penalties should patients readmit within 30 days. How hospitals choose to address COPD patients will play a significant role for the health care industry in 2013 and over the next several years. Alana’s foresight into these realities served as the impetus for their CROM program.Launched in Tennessee in early 2012, CROM is an integrated health management program that reduces hospitalizations and doctor visits, while improving medication adherence and the patient’s ability to breathe. CROM’s foundation is built on three pillars of excellence: respiratory therapist-led patient care, patient and caregiver education, and detailed outcome monitoring. Preliminary results of the program show that CROM is proving to be a game-changer in health care, reducing the largest cost drivers in the COPD paradigm—hospitalizations and readmissions.
CROM has already demonstrated reductions in each by 62% and 73% respectively. Though cost savings in dollar figures range from one hospital to another, 2010 data from the Tennessee Department of Health places the average cost of a single COPD hospitalization at approximately $23,000, jumping to $100,000 when ventilator support is needed. CROM is currently working with the most severe COPD patient population, with some patients experiencing as many as 7 hospitalizations and/or 4 readmissions, annually, prior to entering the CROM program.
“The opportunity to do more for patients is tremendous,” says Zach Gantt, Sr. Director of Respiratory Health at Alana HealthCare. “It’s about making life better for patients today, taking steps now to shape the lives of future patients and, where possible, prevent people from becoming patients altogether.” Gantt is one of the program’s lead architects and provides direct oversight for CROM. CROM follows a high-touch model of care, an approach at the core of Alana HealthCare services. “Our success,” notes Gantt, “is really about the relationships we build with patients. Just like any good relationship, it takes time. Patients already have the motivation to live healthier and more independently. They just need the right people and clinicians in their lives to support them.” Frederic D. Seifer, MD is Alana HealthCare’s Medical Director of Health Management and a pulmonologist with Heritage Medical Center in Shelbyville, TN. “For so long our system has failed to proactively care for these patients,” says Dr. Seifer, “only treating them at the point of no return. Getting in front of the problem better equips the patient and their doctors. Hospitals will continue to play an important part of the process. But we need to utilize them more strategically in the care continuum. CROM does just that.”
For more information, contact Dov Hirsch, Vice President of Corporate Communications.
Phone: 615-375-1094, Ext. 362