Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has launched the start of a seven-day pledge program to connect its patients to primary care within seven days of their hospital discharge from Memorial or an emergency room visit at Memorial. The program guarantees a follow-up appointment with a NFMMC primary care provider at one of Memorial’s six primary care locations.
Joseph A. Ruffolo, CEO of Niagara Falls Memorial, said the seven-day pledge program is based on an evidence-based model from Camden, New Jersey.
“The main goal of the program is to reduce potentially preventable emergency room visits and hospital readmissions,” he said. “Research shows that patients who complete a primary care appointment within seven days of a hospital discharge have a significantly reduced risk of a 30-day and/or 90-day hospital readmission.
“Additional research also shows that, when primary care appointments are held shortly after discharge from the emergency room, patients are more likely to attend those appointments, further reducing potentially preventable emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, in the future.”
Under the seven-day pledge initiative, a care coordinator will meet with patients while they are still in the hospital to discuss the importance of connecting to primary care promptly after a hospital stay. The coordinator will make follow-up primary care appointments, help arrange transportation to primary care visits, and address any other barriers that may prevent patients from attending their seven-day appointment.
Patients recording a visit at Memorial’s emergency room will also be guaranteed a seven-day primary care appointment and receive assistance from a care coordinator who is based in Memorial’s emergency room.
Ruffolo said the seven-day pledge initiative is the first of its kind in Western New York.
“The program will close any gaps in care, improve the patient experience and help patients recover and stay well after a hospital stay or an emergency room visit,” he said.