Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and HealthCare Access Maryland are piloting a groundbreaking program developed to proactively help patients, who frequently use the hospital's Emergency Department for non-urgent and chronic health conditions, better manage their own care, lead healthier lives, and in turn, save precious health-related resources.
The Access Health Program now has coordinators stationed inside Sinai's Emergency Department where they begin by identifying potential participants using certain criteria, such as patients who have come to Sinai's ER-7 four or more times during a four month period for primary or specialty care.
Once individuals are selected and agree to join the program, the navigators start connecting them to community services and resources where they can find solutions for the issues causing them to repeatedly wind up in the Emergency Department.
Care plans are created based on each person's unique requirements and may include home visits. Participants can be part of the program for as long as 90 days.
This flexibility is necessary because following through with recommended medical and preventive care not only involves health care challenges but often requires breaking through social barriers. Examples include finding transportation to get to doctors' appointments and jobs, solving housing issues, treating substance abuse and mental illnesses, identifying child care opportunities and paying for expensive prescriptions.
This innovative hands-on approach is being made possible thanks to a generous first-year grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission of $200,000, which will total $800,000 over three years.
It is hoped that in addition to the Access Health Program helping individuals receive the right level of medical care, it will, over time, reduce the amount of visits and re-admissions to the hospital's Emergency Department, thus making Sinai's excellent service even more cost effective.
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore