CMS “Innovation Award” Under the Affordable Care Act to Improve Geriatric Emergency Care

Mount Sinai has received $12,728,753 to fund a Geriatric Emergency Department Innovations in Care Program known as GEDI WISE, which will provide clinical, workforce, and informatics enhancements to geriatric emergency care that are projected to improve patient outcomes while also producing a cost savings to Medicare and Mount Sinai of over $40 million over the next three years.

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New York, NY (PRWEB) June 17, 2012

The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York today received a “Health Care Innovation Award” from the Department of Health & Human Services. The awards are designed to support innovative healthcare projects nationwide that enhance medical care while also reducing costs. Mount Sinai has received $12,728,753 to fund a Geriatric Emergency Department Innovations in Care Program known as GEDI WISE, which will provide clinical, workforce, and informatics enhancements to geriatric emergency care that are projected to improve patient outcomes while also producing a cost savings to Medicare and Mount Sinai of over $40 million over the next three years.

The number of emergency department visits by older adults has doubled over the last decade, but in most cases the special needs of older patients are not well addressed by existing emergency department care and physical designs. The result is that an increasing number of these geriatric patients are transitioning poorly back to their residences after their hospital stays, and readmission rates for these patients are high.

Mount Sinai, which recently opened a special geriatric emergency department just for older patients, has proposed a suite of programs to attempt to address these issues, as well as an evaluation system to see what programs work best and how they can be exported to other emergency departments throughout the U.S.

To achieve the costs savings and better patient outcomes, Mount Sinai’s program will further educate and enhance its emergency department staff, adding dedicated geriatric social workers, nurse practitioners, home care nurses, volunteer coordinators and technicians. The physical space will be developed to improve patient safety and satisfaction. And a program of data collection and analysis will be implemented to help identify points and transitions in the geriatric patient care process that are currently problematic or causing elderly patients to require re-hospitalization.

“As the U.S. population ages and the proportion of older adults requiring health care services increases, the emergency department is situated at the crossroads of outpatient and inpatient care,” said Lynne D. Richardson, MD, FACEP, Professor & Vice Chair of Emergency Medicine, Professor of Health Evidence & Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “That positions the emergency department to be a key facilitator in improving coordination of care, and reducing hospitalizations, ED visits and complications.”

“What we’re proposing is a paradigm shift away from the current model of emergency care to one based on the specific needs of older adults. The innovations can be implemented as a suite of services or as individual components based on available resources and local needs, making our proposal easily scalable for implementation in emergency departments throughout the country,” said Ula Hwang, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Geriatrics, one of the originators of the geriatric ED concept, who will be co-leading the project with Dr. Richardson.

Mount Sinai believes that its innovations can be used effectively elsewhere, and is working with two other hospitals to export successful elements of GEDI WISE: St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ, and Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago. St. Joseph’s already has a dedicated geriatric emergency department, and Northwestern is building one.

“Those innovation components that are most effective at improving health care, health, and reducing costs will be disseminated as a ‘best practices’ tool kit to help other U.S. hospitals,” said Dr. Richardson. “It is anticipated that the proposed innovations will markedly improve geriatric health while reducing costs by decreasing hospitalizations, ED visits and preventable complications.”

The $12,728,753 award is to fund the clinical staff, workforce training, and informatics improvements for three years, at which time it is anticipated that the improvement will have created a savings of over $40 million to the Medicare program as well as significant cost savings to the hospital which will allow the program to be sustained beyond the life of the grant. This is the second round of Innovation Awards announced by HHS. Combined with the earlier round, HHS has awarded 107 projects that intend to save the health care system an estimated $1.9 billion over the next three years.


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