OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Working collaboratively with Dr. Jeffrey Brenner and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Partners, Better Health East Bay and Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center have announced a combined $2.1 million investment to strengthen a system of care that supports the health needs of underserved residents in Oakland and Berkeley.
With the high cost and high use of the emergency room at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center for non-urgent care visits escalating, this unique effort will build a comprehensive safety net that better connects underserved members of the community with health clinics and support services in their neighborhoods. This includes the use of follow-up care and assistance in navigating appointments and ensuring access, and the integration of a robust information technology network to connect clinicians and social service providers involved in the delivery of health care.
In 2014, Alta Bates Summit was selected as one of only six organizations in the nation to partner with Dr. Brenner’s Camden Coalition as part of a “Hotspotting” Advisory Group. Renowned for his transformative work in Camden, N.J., an area with similar demographics and healthcare challenges as Oakland, Brenner pioneered the innovative program that analyzes data on “super utilizers,” the most frequent users of community health care resources including costly emergency room visits. Better Health East Bay will host Dr. Brenner for a series of community events at Alta Bates Summit’s Berkeley campus on Monday, Nov. 10.
Alta Bates Summit and the Camden Coalition will partner for an additional two years to implement the hotspotting program, with Camden providing technical assistance, including best practices and training.
“As a result of the Affordable Care Act, there are many more insured patients in need of care putting a strain on an already fragmented health care system, and with many doctors now shutting their doors or turning away patients, the emergency room is the most obvious option for many,” said Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, CEO of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Partners. “Sutter Health is taking a tremendous leadership role in Northern California to pave the way for better care for the underserved.”
With the investment, the team at Alta Bates Summit has completed initial work on GIS/hotspotting maps that demonstrate utilization trends among all users of the emergency room for three consecutive years. The team is now analyzing the "hotspots" of frequent users and non-urgent users to understand the neighborhood conditions and drivers contributing to poor health and use of the emergency room for routine primary care. In addition, an August 2014 report on 600 Alta Bates Summit patients in the case management program, found that patients who interfaced with a care transitions nurse were 32 percent more likely to follow-up with a health care provider within 30 days of their first admission to the hospital as compared to patients who were not part of the RN care transitions program.
Patients who worked with a care transitions nurse experienced a 17 percent decrease in emergency room visits within 30 days of discharge and a 17 percent decrease in readmissions to Alta Bates Summit within 30 days. This focus on effective care transitions guarantees patients leaving the hospital have an appointment and a new mindset about their follow up care. Many of these shared patients are on Medi-Cal and this extra care helps them avoid developing an emergency health crisis that requires being readmitted to the hospital.
Better Health East Bay, the philanthropic organization supporting Alta Bates Summit, is funding a significant portion of this overall initiative with a $1 million investment matched by another $1.1 million from Alta Bates Summit. In addition, Better Health East Bay will incorporate the power of crowdfunding to support this effort with a new fundraising effort to benefit the Berkeley Free Clinic to help make its mobile service more widely available in the community.
“Our work to date in hotspotting demonstrates that we are on the right track to better understanding our community and what their needs are, and that we can make it easier to support them on an ongoing basis,” said Jim Hickman, President and CEO of Better Health East Bay. “It’s one thing to know the zip code of where frequent emergency room patients live, it’s another thing to engage with the patient directly to get them the help they need. Our goal is to do just that by helping treat patients better and faster, and ultimately save lives.”
About Better Health East Bay (betterhealtheastbay.org)
Better Health East Bay (BHEB) is a Sutter Health philanthropic foundation that raises charitable donations to apply a common sense approach to solving healthcare issues for the underserved and those who require complex care in our community. Powered by Sutter Health’s care network, community partnerships and research, BHEB is engaging with donors to create novel approaches to improve the health and well-being of more than 2 million people who call the East Bay home. By helping solve patient problems faster and more cost effectively, BHEB is making it possible to prevent and treat illness, and save lives, neighborhood by neighborhood.
About The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (camdenhealth.org)
The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (CCHP) works with health care providers, hospitals and physician practices to improve the care and coordination of healthcare for Camden residents while decreasing costs. We believed that if we could affect this small percentage of "super users" with better, more coordinated care, we could increase the quality of care and decrease the cost to the system. For the past ten years, CCHP has done just that. By developing programs and working in conjunction with those on the front lines of healthcare delivery, we have reduced the amount of ED and inpatient stays for our patients.
About Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (altabatessummit.org)
Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center offers comprehensive services designed to meet the health care needs of the diverse communities of the greater East Bay. A tertiary referral center, the medical center is the East Bay's largest private, not-for-profit medical center. Alta Bates Summit's 100-plus year tradition of commitment and service continues today, with recognition as one of the nation's top hospitals for clinical excellence and patient safety.