Treat’em and Street’em


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 more productive lifestyles while delivering medical care in a more appropriate setting, e.g. office visits 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!

Enough said.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer

Posted in OMCA