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Samaritan sees Impact to Patients through Telehealth Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program 

Published on: November 1, 2022

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Home Health launched its telehealth Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in February 2022 and has seen positive impacts for patients participating with congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  

Samaritan Home Health Director of Patient Services, Stephanie Parks, stated, “patients who have been discharged from the hospital, or who have been referred by their physician, and are eligible for our Home Health services, benefit from this program, specifically those with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”

This program stems from a pilot tested near the end of 2020, where patients at risk of readmission with COVID-19 were assigned pulse oximeters to test levels three times daily from home. With its success, the medical center requested grant monies through North Country Initiative and Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization for resources and technology to enhance the program.

The goal of this updated program is to reduce readmission within 30 days of discharge from the hospital through improved communication between providers and patient, including daily interactive home monitoring.  Patients are given specific equipment such as tablet, scale, blood pressure device, pulse oximeter that when used provide the direct vitals to the home health care team virtually.  If any of these vitals is outside the normal range for the patient, home health staff reach out directly to provide immediate approved interventions. 

“CHF and COPD in elderly patients often result in hospitalization due to exacerbations,” said Parks. “There are multiple factors we can monitor to reduce risk including, weight, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.”

Since February, Samaritan Home Health has received 66 referrals to the program, with 50 patients officially participating. Some of the referred patients declined the resource. Of those participating, 92 percent of patients were not readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, which is very successful.

“Our program coordinator has worked tirelessly to improve the well-being of our patients, and her active engagement is why we are seeing such success,” said Parks. “We hope others will participate and continue to reduce readmissions.”

Dr. Mario Victoria, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Samaritan Medical Center, added that COVID-19 allowed us to provide better care management at home, and we can now apply lessons learned to offer good outcomes to specific patients in our community.