CMSA Today - Issue 1, 2016 - (Page 10)

Patient Assistance Community Collaboration Carolinas HealthCare System's Carolinas Medical Center and Crisis Assistance Ministries BY KATHRYN HARRELL, MSW, ACM S ince one of our hospital's goals is to reduce readmissions, like most hospitals, we look not only at patients' medical needs, but their non-medical needs as well, because socioeconomic factors influence a patient's health. Housing, transportation, social support, primary language, income, and access to resources are just a few factors case managers consider when assessing patients for things in which they may need assistance when they leave the hospital. We often wish we could remove all of the problems that a patient may present, but we do not have the time or the expertise to navigate every county, state, or federal system effectively. So we focus on the factors that we do have knowledge about, like medication assistance, and cross our fingers that the patients follow up with the referrals and packets of information provided to help address their other problems. Unfortunately, this strategy works only some of the time. Therefore, our department has partnered with 10 CMSA TODAY a well-known community organization to assist patients with resources we do not have. This organization, Crisis Assistance Ministry, uses a statewide online tool that screens lowincome residents for nutritional, health, and financial benefits for which they are eligible under existing state and federal programs. There are millions of dollars in benefits that are not being used simply because individuals do not know they are eligible for benefits. Although the online tool assists individuals with many benefits, in implementing this resource our team decided to focus on supplemental food and nutrition services. We thought that if patients had more financial assistance for food, they might be better able to afford their medications. Case managers often meet with patients who have trouble affording their medication, even if they have prescription coverage, and therefore skip doses or end up not taking their medication at all. This is often a factor to their readmission to the hospital. These patients are quickly labeled Issue 1 * 2016 * DIGITAL as non-compliant by practitioners, but this usually is not an accurate or fair label, as a patient may have chosen between spending money on food versus buying medications. What Is Food Insecurity? Two studies have found that older adults in particular may have to choose between food and medications because they cannot afford both.1 It is not surprising these two may affect one another when " in six Americans reported that they lack health insurance... and nearly one in five said they had trouble meeting basic needs.2 A cross-sectional analysis was conducted2 of the adult National Health Interview Survey, focusing on two variables: "... cost-related medication underuse, which refers to taking less medication than prescribed, or not taking it at all, due to cost" and " insecurity, defined as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 1, 2016

Community Collaboration
Discharge Planning Regulations
Patient Adherence

CMSA Today - Issue 1, 2016