Center director Timothy G. Buchman, MD, said that because more than 1,000 hospital ICUs have closed, especially in rural areas, because of a lack of qualified doctors and other staff, patients in those areas "are not getting" the right care, right now. Instead, patients and families have to travel long distances to wherever an open ICU bed can be found.
To help solve that problem, Emory will bring acute care nurse practitioners and physician assistants from those communities to Emory for a six-month training program so they can provide ICU care through a telemedicine ICU service. That telemedicine service will be delivered by a new North Georgia collaborative, whose experienced ICU doctors and nurses can support those providers and their patients around the clock.
"For all Americans, it's a program that saves cost, saves money, saves time and saves lives and can be quickly adopted and replicated in other communities, and scaled to local needs," Buchman said.
The Emory program expects to save $18.4 million over the three-year program.
Sebelius said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which selected the winners, received more than 2,000 applicants, which she described as an "incredible response," with ideas ranging from better ways for patients to manage their diabetes to better ways to coordinate care for seniors with multiple chronic conditions. These first awardees, she said, had ideas that are the most likely to not only succeed, but be applied to other settings across the country.
The $900 million in grants comes from a $10 billion fund authorized under section 3021 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Click here for a full listening of the projects.