Health officials say fewer patients readmitted to hospital with - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Health officials say fewer patients readmitted to hospital with heart problems

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Fewer patients are being readmitted into the hospital with heart related problems, and officials at Deaconess Heart Hospital say it's all thanks to a new initiative that's saving taxpayers money.

It's called the Care Transitions Initiative, and according to Becky Malotte, Executive Director of the Deaconess Heart Hospital, "It changes everything."

Since starting the initiative three years ago, readmission rates for medicare patients have been cut to about 16 percent.

"Two years ago, nationally, we saw that readmission rates across the country were about 30%. We here locally see that we have cut that to about half," Malotte said.

So how are they doing it? The hospital teamed up with the USI Nursing School. Students and staff started calling back two, seven, and 14 days after a patient was discharged. 

"With a list of questions. Have you checked your weight daily? Are you taking your medication?" Rebecca Englert, with Deaconess, told 14 News.

Students started using the Teach Back Method, which means they are engaging the patient more in their own healing process.

"We're going over medication management as well as signs and symptoms. They basically embrace. It's not my little white pill, it's this pill helps get fluid out of my system," Malotte said. 

How much has this saved taxpayers? It remains to be seen.

"I think we're beginning to see that now. To say I have a number, I don't, but if we're keeping you out of the emergency department, then that's helping to reduce individual's cost as well as our government's costs,"Malotte said. 

While the exact savings aren't clear yet, keep this in mind, the average cost of someone being admitted for a heart condition can set you back thousands.

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