Heart Failure: Breakthrough Results

Building a Sustainable Program with over $2million at Stake

Alan Howard, RN, MSN, MDiv Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Saint Joseph Healthcare
Sylvia Aruffo, PhD President Communication Science, Inc.

ABSTRACT
Heart specialists at Saint Joseph HealthCare, Lexington, KY developed a program for heart failure Medicare patients that reduced LOS by 18% and readmissions by 73%, creating annualized savings of $2.3 million. The intervention included changes in staff procedures, a new drug for HF and an ethnographically-developed patient self management kit. The outcomes were achieved but then lost when the project champion was absent. The team has now enlisted the quality and process improvement departments to shift the program from “personality-dependent” to “process-dependent.”

THE AIM
Goal #1: Reduce LOS to within the Medicare payment limit, 4.5 days
Goal #2: Reduce readmissions in <31 days by at least 50%
Goal #3: Reduce LOS for readmissions that can’t be prevented

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