Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
This week has been one of progress for some special initiatives of Highland Hospital in Charleston. I am so proud to be able to talk to our supporters about some of them in this space.
First, we now are able to accept adults with Medicaid coverage who are have joined the managed care organizations West Virginia Family Health and The Health Plan. We are so pleased that our partners in these agencies understand the importance of inpatient hospitalization for their members in a facility like ours. We know that their members will benefit from the care that we provide that considers the whole person and their family. They will benefit from group and individual therapy, art and recreation therapy, case management, community engagement specialists, and assessment, diagnosis, intervention and medication management by our board certified psychiatrists. We firmly believe that we can decrease the cost of emergency room time and re-hospitalization of these patients, and we are proud to be working with our partners to demonstrate these improvements in care for adults with Medicaid coverage.
Next, our work with the Partners in Health Network to decrease the frequent use of the emergency room for care is starting to take shape. As we presented our plans to launch a demonstration project to provide intensive case management for these patients to the Partners network this week, I could see how engaged everyone is in trying to address this problem. We will target those folks who have more than 12 emergency room visits a year, get them into a primary care site (including ours at Process Strategies) or an outpatient behavioral health facility as appropriate, and will provide them with intensive case management. We will look at their utilization of services and cost savings after 6 months of services. We anticipate huge savings to the health care system, and perhaps a future where intensive case management, something so often needed in this complex health care system, will be a reimburseable service.
And finally, what a difference a week makes! Last Friday, we endured over 18 inches of snow as Winter Storm Jonas dropped in to see us in Charleston. A state of emergency was called sometime in the afternoon by the Governor, and we needed to manage getting staff to the hospital. Our brave facilities folks managed to get staff in until we could no longer safely travel on the roads. Some of our staff walked to work in blizzard conditions. Some slept over to be available for our patients. Through it all, our patients received excellent care, we all pulled together as a team to assure that all needs were met. Over the next few weeks we’ll have a few surprises in line for the over 80 staff who pitched in and helped in a variety of different roles. Bravo to our staff–please join me in thanking them for their incredible service!