MaineHealth Awarded $35,000 Grant to Improve Patient Safety
Program to Create Standardized Discharge Planning & Medication Processes
July 15, 2009
Portland, Maine, July 15, 2009 — MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system of leading, high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations, has been awarded a $35,000 grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation. MaineHealth will use the grant, coupled with its own in-kind contributions, to create a standardized discharge planning and medication reconciliation process for use in the 11 hospitals in the MaineHealth system.
“MaineHealth is proud to receive this grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation to help us further our patient care and safety efforts,” said Vance Brown, chief medical officer for MaineHealth. We are dedicated to finding ways that we can improve medication safety and reduce hospital readmissions – issues that have a big impact on the lives of our patients and the financial health of our members.”
Three MaineHealth system members will serve as pilot hospitals, including Maine Medical Center (600 beds), a tertiary care and teaching hospital in Portland, Maine; Miles Memorial Hospital (38 beds) in Damariscotta, serving Maine’s mid-coast region; and Stephens Memorial Hospital (50 beds) in Norway, Maine, serving the western part of the state. By involving diverse facilities, MaineHealth will create a process that works at both large and small hospitals.
The need for the standardized program is due to challenges patients face in the transition from hospital to home, challenges that may include medication errors and ultimately lead to rehospitalization. MaineHealth has already responded to the need to create a discharge process that includes medication reconciliation by hiring a care transitions coach at Maine Medical Center. This care transitions coach served 165 patients over a 12-month period, during which readmission rates dropped and medication discrepancies were identified and addressed. The grant money will assist MaineHealth in advancing its current efforts to address the multiple issues of transitioning a patient from the hospital to the patient’s home.
The grants were awarded to address priority areas identified by the National Quality Forum, a not-for-profit membership organization created to develop and implement a national strategy for healthcare quality measurement and reporting. These priority areas include medication safety and reconciliation - from prescribing correct medication and ensuring the right medication gets to the right patient at the right time – and assuring information is communicated and understood at key transition points.
Teams of physicians and front-line staff will be formed at the three pilot hospitals and will provide the structure for identifying and testing improvements, examining performance data refining improvement strategies and spreading change system-wide.
The work to create a standardized discharge planning and medication reconciliation process starts this summer and runs through September, 2010.
MaineHealth is a family of leading, high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation’s top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth’s member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Miles Memorial Hospital, LincolnHealth – St. Andrews Campus & Healthcare Center, Southern Maine Medical Center, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Waldo County General Hospital, Spring Harbor Hospital, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Medical Center, Mid Coast Hospital, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Penobscot Bay Medical Center. www.MaineHealth.org
About the Cardinal Health Foundation
The Cardinal Health Foundation supports local, national and international programs that improve health care quality and build healthy communities. The Cardinal Health Foundation also offers grants to encourage employee service to the community and works through international agencies to donate much-needed medical supplies and funding to those who need them in times of disaster. www.CardinalHealth.com/community
David Bachman, M.D.
Senior Medical Director, Transitions of Care