BeebeCAREs offers optimism for healthcare

One of the trickiest puzzles this country has been trying to solve focuses on healthcare. How can the most amount of people get the best available care without bankrupting our nation, closing hospitals and putting insurance companies at risk?

Solve that, and you are going places.

While not necessarily solving the nation’s healthcare problems in one fell swoop, Beebe Medical Center might be on to something with their succesful pilot program BeebeCAREs.

Standing for Care Coordination, Access and Advocacy, Referral to Community Resources, and Empowerment of patients and caregivers, the program consisted of 12 patients who had been classified as “At risk” for re-admission. They had each had more than three re-admissions in the previous year, and the BeebeCAREs team followed up with the patients for 90 days following discharge to provide transitional care and support. The results were cause for optimism.

It reduced re-admission rates by 49 percent and average lengths of stay by 45 percent. There was also a 95 percent improvement in the average transition skills score, and a 44 percent improvement in the average quality of life score, based on follow-up with patients, according to Beebe.

Those are numbers that must sound like sweet music to an administrator’s ears, but also show marked improvement in patients’ health — that’s win-win in this healthcare struggle.

“We are all looking for innovative ways to reduce waste, expense and improve the quality of care for patients,” said Megan Williams, one of the BeebeCAREs team. “And this is a classic example of it. It is a complete transformation of how we provide care.”

No, it won’t fix all our problems. But it’s a start.