A letter from Jean Moody-Williams.
Over the course of her 30-year career, Dr. Tina Castañares has worked as a primary care clinician at three of Oregon’s migrant health centers. An original member of the Oregon Health Services Commission, Dr. Castañares assisted in the pioneering, priority-setting work that helped create the Oregon Health Plan. She also served as the National Ombudswoman for Farmworker Health to the U.S. Assistant Surgeon General for 11 years, was a member of the national Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Northwest Health Foundation. She has taught and lectured nationally and internationally about resource allocation, Latino and immigrant health, palliative and end-of-life care, bioethics, community health workers, upstream public health and health care reform.
At a Salt Lake City, Utah-based Learning and Action Network event organized by HealthInsight, the Quality Improvement Organization for Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, mother and son team Vicki and Kevin Whiting shared with a crowd of more than 150 medical professionals their health care story. After a long journey and a mother finding the heart to use her voice, Kevin’s true diagnosis was discovered, and he received a surgical procedure that saved his life. The Whitings’ story exemplifies how listening is the heart and soul of patient-centered care.
Within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital, about one in five Medicare beneficiaries are re-hospitalized, and as many as three in four of those readmissions could have been prevented. The process by which patients move from hospitals to other care settings is increasingly problematic as hospitals shorten lengths of stay and as care becomes more fragmented. To improve care transitions and quality of care, Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) across the country are working to build multi-stakeholder coalitions, identify the root causes of readmissions, select interventions and put them into action.
In an effort to reduce health care-acquired infections (HAIs), adverse drug events (ADEs) and hospital readmissions, Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) and Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs) are working together to make hospitals safer, more reliable and less costly for both the facility and the patient.
Medications offer a variety of benefits, but they can come with great risk when not prescribed, administered or managed properly. Older adults are twice as likely to visit the emergency department and seven times more likely to be hospitalized due to adverse drug events (ADEs) than people under age 65. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has even set a national goal to prevent and eliminate ADEs in 265,000 lives per year.