According to a recent study published by JAMA, people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias visit the emergency department at twice the rate of their peers, an outcome that researchers characterized as “potentially avoidable and harmful.” Chris Palmieri, CCA President and CEO, wrote an op-ed for McKnights sharing insights and solutions for delivering high-quality care to patients facing these unique challenges.
“Although older patients with chronic conditions or behavioral health needs, particularly those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, generally require the most healthcare, they also experience the greatest barriers to receiving it. All too often the emergency department (ED) becomes the default when someone lacks transportation or faces another barrier that prevents them from getting to an urgent care clinic or doctor’s office. As we know through the dementia study, it’s more likely that the clinicians in the ED will not have a full picture of the medical, social, and behavioral health needs of their patient — fragmentation that can cause further issues down the road.”
To address these issues, Palmieri emphasized the need for payer-provider collaboration and for innovative solutions, such as paramedicine, to ensure the delivery of integrated, patient-centric, and cost-effective care.
“One way this can be achieved is by utilizing mobile integrated health and community paramedicine (MIH-CP). MIH-CP programs like instED, created by Commonwealth Care Alliance in 2018, help people avoid an emergency room or hospital admission by providing urgent medical care in patients’ homes, on demand, using highly trained paramedics in coordination with primary care providers. Last year, instED helped 86% of its users to avoid an unnecessary visit to the hospital.”