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Care Coalition Chips Away at Transition Problems

Case Management Monthly, August 24, 2010

Sometimes transitioning patients to the next level of care can be a chore. There are several different types of agencies (home health, nursing homes, hospices) and several individual agencies within those types, all requiring different information to accept a referral. This can cause aggravation and, more importantly, delays.

Instead of complaining about agencies and their different requirements, three hospitals in Illinois (Memorial Hospital, Anderson Hospital, and St. Elizabeth's Hospital) decided to create a care coalition, which would create a forum for hospitals and postacute agencies to discuss transition issues. 

Creating a coalition 
When Heather Corbitt, MSW, LSW, ACM, social service manager and director of case management at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, decided to reach out to neighboring hospitals to create a care coalition, "it wasn't hard to get people on board," she says. 

Memorial Hospital was already friendly with two facilities in the area, and they were positive toward the idea. During the process, Corbitt discovered that neighboring Anderson Hospital was already meeting with representatives from area nursing homes, hospices, and home health agencies every quarter. 

"The care coalition was born out of the nursing home meetings that Anderson Hospital held," says Nancy Vetter, MSW, LCSW, director of social services at Anderson Hospital in Maryville.

Corbitt and St. Elizabeth Hospital's director of case management attended one of Anderson's meetings and presented the coalition idea to the postacute providers. The group was larger than Corbitt anticipated—more than 80 people. 

"I was worried we would not be able to pinpoint certain issues with all the various agencies there (e.g., nursing homes, home health agencies, and hospices)," she says.

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