West Jefferson – Only Louisiana Hospital Chosen by American College of Cardiology for Patient Navigator Program

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West Jefferson Medical Center is honored to be the only hospital in Louisiana to be chosen for their new Patient Navigator Program. This program focuses on decreasing the readmission rate of heart attack or heart failure patients.

West Jefferson is very pleased and excited to have been chosen for the ACC Patient Navigator program. Through this partnership, we look forward to enhancing our current processes and forging new ones

West Jefferson Medical Center (WJMC) in New Orleans is the only hospital in Louisiana chosen by The American College of Cardiology (ACC) as part of a pioneering team approach to keep patients healthy and at home following admission for heart attack or heart failure. The 35 hospitals selected nationwide are the first participants in the ACC Patient Navigator Program, which is the first program of its kind in cardiology and supports national efforts to reduce unnecessary patient readmissions.

West Jefferson is very pleased and excited to have been chosen for the ACC Patient Navigator program. Through this partnership, we look forward to enhancing our current processes and forging new ones that will allow us to improve the quality of care we deliver to our patients,” said Monica Bologna, Vice President of Service Line Development at West Jefferson Medical Center.

Nearly one in five Medicare patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to their original diagnosis. Readmissions can be related to issues related to stresses of the initial hospitalization, patient fragility at time of discharge, a lack of understanding of discharge instructions, and the inability to carry out discharge instructions.

“The Patient Navigator Program is a unique collaboration between the cardiovascular care team, patients, and families to manage the stress of hospitalization for complex conditions in a way that allows patients to return home, remain healthy, and avoid the need for readmission whenever possible,” said ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, M.D., FACC. “West Jefferson’s program coincides with national initiatives to reduce readmission rates for patients with cardiovascular conditions. More importantly, it will directly benefit patients and their families.”

As of Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services increased penalties for hospitals with excessive 30-day readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure, and three other non-cardiac conditions to a maximum of three percent of related CMS reimbursements. Penalties were implemented beginning in 2012 and maximum penalties have increased annually by one percentage point.

After an initial implementation and assessment period, hospitals in the Patient Navigator Program will implement a variety of evidence-based processes to help their patients avoid readmission. Processes can include scheduling seven-day follow up appointments and discussing and providing the patient with documentation of their treatment regimen, all prescribed medications, and community resources. Established programs will serve as models that can be implemented in other hospitals as the initiative grows. AstraZeneca is the founding sponsor of the ACC Patient Navigator Program.

Founded in 1956, West Jefferson Medical Center (WJMC) is a community hospital located in Marrero, LA, just 10 minutes from downtown New Orleans. As a full-service medical center, WJMC offers comprehensive programs for preventive, emergency, acute, and rehabilitative care with a medical staff of more than 400 physicians and a complement of 1,900 employees and many volunteers. WJMC serves a community of more than 180,000 people. To meet the community needs, West Jefferson Medical Center Physician Services include both primary care and specialty clinics located across the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. The medical center has earned awards for clinical excellence across many of its subspecialties.

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Taslin Alfonzo
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