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Methodist South on journey to improve heart failure care

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Published in News

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently selected Methodist South to be part of a network of more than 130 hospitals focused on the improvement of quality, efficiency and equity of care delivered in hospitals nationwide. In the U.S., one in every four heart failure patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.

Dr. W. Anthony Greer, chief medical officer at Methodist South Hospital, works the crowd assembled to learn about the hospitals new venture to improve heart failure care, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and reduce avoidable readmissions. (Photo by Earl Stanback)

Now Methodist Hospital South and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are linked in an effort to tip the scale more in the favor of those in recovery.

The Foundation recently selected Methodist South to be part of a network of more than 130 hospitals focused on the improvement of quality, efficiency and equity of care delivered in hospitals nationwide.

On Tuesday morning, Methodist South held a community briefing that served as the kickoff of its involvement in the Aligning Forces for Quality Hospital Quality Network (AF4Q Hospital Quality Network). A group of health care professionals gathered at the hospital to learn more about the 18-month initiative that will specifically concentrate on improving heart failure care, reducing racial and ethnic disparities and ultimately reducing avoidable readmissions.

“Because we serve a large population of minority cardiac patients, we are eager to participate in this initiative,” said Michael Ugwueke, CEO of Methodist South Hospital.

“By participating in the Hospital Quality Network, Methodist South will be on the frontline of improving patient care and increasing efficiency to produce better outcomes for patients in our community and nationwide.”

According to the American Heart Association, heart failure affects five million Americans and costs the health-care system $37 billion – and inpatient or emergency room care takes on more than 70 percent of the costs.

Marnita Yates, who has been a cardiac patient for more than 10 years, sees promise in Methodist South’s participation in the network.

“I’m excited to hear that health workers in Memphis are concerned about people like me,” said Yates, who recently moved to Memphis from Detroit. And while she suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure and is aware of the possibility of a relapse, she has not among those who have had to be readmitted after heart failure.

“I hope they (Methodist South) will inform the community every step of the way. We want to know how we can stay heart healthy. I don’t want to go back to the hospital or have another surgery.”

Hospital representatives said the initiative would focus on cardiac care because whether experiencing a heart attack, heart failure or other conditions, the recommended standard of care for cardiac patients is clear and accepted among medical professionals nationwide.

Lanitra Harris, MHA, Methodist South case management project coordinator, will oversee the initiative. As a participant in the “Reducing Readmissions” component, Methodist South will be positioned to make significant changes to improve the quality of cardiac care with a specific goal of reducing readmission rates.

Harris will have the support of physician champion Rami Khouzam, M.D.; executive champions Florence Jones, RN, MSN, Methodist South chief nursing officer, and W. Anthony Greer, M.D., MBA, PMP, Methodist South chief medical officer; and clinical champions Brandi Harris, RN, BSN, MHA, Methodist South clinical director and Carolyn Wade, RN, BS, CCM, ACM, Methodist South case management director.

The AF4Q Hospital Quality Network is overseen by the Center for Health Care Quality at The George Washington University Medical Center School of Public Health and Health Services, which serves as the national program office for the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative.

(For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.)

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