Treat’em and Street’em
That’s “old school” for how hospital ERs sometimes deal with super utilizers, many of whom are homeless, drug/alcohol dependent and mentally ill. Hospitals take their share of abuse and criticisms from many sources, including my columns/newsletters. However, when they are taking positive steps to address complex and costly problems, we need to give them a thumbs up.
As reported in a recent Louisville Courier Journal article by Laura Ungar, University Hospital, in conjunction with several national non-profit Foundations, is exploring ways to address the social ills of the chronic ER abuser. This new approach not only saves money but helps patients obtain a more productive lifestyle while delivering medical care in a more appropriate setting i.e. office visit vs ER.
The article shines the spotlight on a homeless man who made 337 ER visits last year, most by ambulance. To make a long story short, University Hospital found this man a primary care physician, apartment, detox program and transitional living program. Over the last 8 months this man has been to the ER only 3 times (for seizures/blood pressure problems).
University Hospital is doing better for the taxpayers!
William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer