Silver Cross to launch mobile integrated health program
9/27/2018, 6 a.m.
New Lenox - Silver Cross Hospital has teamed up with several area emergency medical services (EMS) responders to launch a Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program to help chronically ill patients maintain better control of their health and avoid stressful and costly readmissions to the hospital.
Through this first-of-its-kind program in Will County, area paramedics from seven participating fire departments respond to patients with chronic care needs right in their own homes – at no cost to the patient. What’s more, any participating primary care doctor, case manager, hospital-based doctor or emergency room doctor can request to have a Silver Cross patient with multiple chronic conditions and/or a
recent joint replacement enroll in the program. The program is approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“Half of all patients admitted to Silver Cross Hospital have multiple chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, pulmonary disease, heart failure and stroke,” explains Dr. David Mikolajczak, emergency medicine specialist and medical director of the Silver Cross EMS System. “As a result, these patients frequently visit one of our two emergency departments and are readmitted to the hospital. It can be extremely costly and stressful on our patients and their loved ones.”
Here’s how the program works: During a scheduled home visit, paramedics perform a physical exam, assessment and home safety check. They also provide patient education and medical care when appropriate, and even coordinate community resources if necessary. EMS providers work in close communication and collaboration with the partnering primary care doctor. And for continuity of care, all medical information is sent to Silver Cross to include in the patient’s electronic medical record.
“Patients who have participated in similar programs around the country have stayed healthier,” adds Silver Cross Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mary Bakken. “For example, in Boston, 84 percent of patients avoided an ER visit, and 95 percent of patients agreed they were well-educated about their diagnosis thanks to the attending paramedics.”
At Silver Cross, 14 percent of patients who currently qualify for the program are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. Many of them are frail and elderly. Often that’s because they don’t understand the preventative health steps they should be taking, or because of a lack of resources, they let a prescription run out.
“We know that it can be difficult for patients with chronic diseases to properly manage their health once they are back home,” Dr. Mikolajczak added. “By having a licensed paramedic go out to a patient’s home, sit with them and talk through how to best manage their disease, we will be better able to give them the tools they need to improve their health.”
“Ambulance crews are often called to patients’ homes because of complications from a chronic illness that could have been avoided through better health management,” Bakken added. “Through the Mobile Integrated Health program, we’re establishing a relationship with chronically ill patients, offering them support and working with them to break down barriers that prevent them from managing their health.”
For more information about the new Mobile Integrated Health Program, visit
www.silvercross.org or call 815-300-7130.