By Jennifer Lollar
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing and UAB Hospital, through the UAB Nursing Partnership, have earned a Gage Award for Population Health honorable mention from America’s Essential Hospitals for the partnership’s nurse-led HRSA Heart Failure Clinic.
The award was presented at a luncheon June 22, during VITAL2017, the association’s annual conference. America’s Essential Hospitals is a consortium of 275 national U.S. hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care.
“Receiving this recognition on behalf of our team is an honor,” said clinic co-founder Maria Shirey, PhD, MBA, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FAAN, Chair of the Department of Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care and Professor. “We consider it a privilege to provide patient and family centered care to our most vulnerable population of heart failure patients.”
In December 2014, Shirey collaborated with Connie White-Williams, PhD, RN, FAAN, Director of the Center for Nursing Excellence at UAB Hospital, to open this nurse-managed, interprofessional transitional care clinic for heart failure patients recently discharged from UAB Hospital. Its goal was to reduce 30-day hospital readmissions for uninsured heart failure patients and improve access to care for this underinsured and medically underserved population.
It was funded by a three-year Nursing Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and provides a medical home for those who have no primary care provider but require follow-up care.
“We want to provide the best possible care for our patients,” White-Williams said. “By doing the simple things such as medication reconciliation, using teachback methodology, and overcoming social barriers, our team of nurses, social workers, patient care technician and physician make a difference in the lives of these patients. We provide the resources for patients to manage their heart failure.”
Patients are referred to the clinic before hospital discharge and evaluated at home, and receive ongoing care at the clinic. The clinic uses an interprofessional collaborative practice model with a team of nurses, physicians, social workers, health services administrators, public health professionals, health information technology professionals, and community health workers. Students from these disciplines also complete rotations with the team.
Since its inception, the Heart Failure Clinic has become the medical home for almost 300 patients, and 100 percent of patients are seen within seven days of hospital discharge. Since implementing the program, the 30-day hospital readmission rate improved from 26 percent to 14 percent; the average cost per patient decreased from $18,365 to $9,698; and the average cost per encounter decreased from $6,485 to $1,574.
“The positive outcomes we have achieved demonstrate that an interprofessional collaborative practice model works,” Shirey said. “Tapping into the talents of team members with a diverse skill set makes us all stronger.”
Through the Gage Awards, America’s Essential Hospitals recognizes the learning necessary for members to successfully carry out improvement projects, spreads best practices and innovative programs to other organizations, and supports research, policy, and advocacy work by sharing stories of member success with a broad audience.
The Gage Awards for Population Health recognize programs that aim to improve specific health outcomes for a defined population in their community. Programs are judged on how well-defined they are; needs assessment; a form of evaluation if used; if it addresses the social determinants of health/upstream factors; if it is accessible to geographically based patients, not just patients already attributed to the health care system; if it effectively used community-based resources and partnered with other community organizations; and if the results and baseline data demonstrate improved health outcomes.
The School of Nursing, UAB Hospital and the UAB Health System formally work together through the UAB Nursing Partnership to align critical resources to provide outstanding patient care, invest in teaching and training for interprofessional collaboration and partner in research and scholarship with the goal of producing nurses who know how to deliver the best quality nursing care anywhere, to create innovative models of care, and to enable nursing faculty to be more deeply engaged in clinical practice.
Leading transitional care
UAB Nursing Partnership nationally recognized for nurse-managed HRSA Heart Failure Clinic success