A nurse practitioner is at the helm of a free healthcare clinic that aims to reduce readmissions among congestive heart failure patients. It's one of the latest of many free, nurse-led clinics and programs that are bridging gaps in healthcare for patients across the country and, in the process, reducing hospitalizations and readmissions, saving money, and keeping patients healthy.
The Mountain States Health Alliance founded the congestive heart failure clinic at the Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee. According to MSHA, (which was also just awarded the 2012 National Quality Healthcare Award by the National Quality Forum) about one out of every three congestive heart failure patients is readmitted to Johnson City Medical Center within 30 days.
The clinic, located on the medical center campus, will focus on education, medication reconciliation, and helping patients monitor their conditions. In addition, clinic staff will help patients utilize medication and other assistance programs and resources.
Although the staff won't dispense medicines, Julia Bates, the nurse practitioner who helped create the care model for the clinic, said that her job will be to make sure patients understand congestive heart failure. She'll also work to identify and help patients overcome the social and financial barriers that might prevent them from getting better.