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2009 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital Joins National Program To Reduce Hospital Readmission
CLEARWATER, Fla., (April 28, 2009)--As part of its commitment of improving the health of the community, Morton Plant Hospital is one of 24 hospitals selected to participate in Project BOOST, a year long training program designed to keep patients from re-hospitalization for the same condition or ailment.

According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 20% of elderly patients discharged from a hospital are readmitted within 30 days. Readmissions are costing the Medicare system more than $17 billion dollars. Some of the reasons include inadequate or no home care after discharge, inability to shop for food or retrieve prescriptions, patients’ lack of understanding of medical instructions, and communication between hospital staff and primary care doctors.

Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safe Transitions) is a program offered through the Society of Hospital Medicine. Its purpose is to lower the number of patients being re-admitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge. It offers health care teams the tools, resources and procedures to prevent readmission, to improve communication among health care providers, and to educate and inform patients and family members about care after the patient is discharged from the hospital. “This is an opportunity for Morton Plant Hospital to broaden our services and ensure that we are helping to keep our patients healthy while in our care, as well as after they return home,” said Dr. Jordan Messler, Medical Director of the Morton Plant’s hospitalist group.

The Society of Hospital Medicine selected hospitals nationwide to receive additional support and instruction through a one year mentorship and on-site training. The selection is based on several criteria including numbers of patients and hospitals with a higher number of senior patients. The program is funded by a $1.4 million grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation.

“We are very pleased to be one of a few hospitals across the country participating in The BOOST program. It aligns with our Morton Plant Mease values and mission,” says Hal Ziecheck, Chief Operating Officer of Morton Plant Hospital. “Some of the most common causes of re-admission is that patients lack ways to fill their prescriptions or make wholesome meals. We have actually been working on helping patients with some of these challenges for quite some time.”

For the past ten years, Morton Plant Mease has provided assistance to discharged patients through a volunteer program called Friend to Friend. Patients identified as a “high risk” for readmission are teamed with a volunteer. The volunteer will make grocery trips and pick up prescriptions for the patient, and make phone calls and visits to check on their general well being. In addition, a volunteer program called Care Van will transport patients who are unable to drive to hospital and physician visits.

“Our Friend to Friend program was created after identifying that some of our elderly patients were returning to the hospital within a short period of time. We discovered they had no access to transportation, so they couldn’t pick up prescriptions or buy groceries,” said Ziecheck. The Friend to Friend program gives the support necessary for a person to have an opportunity to successfully heal after a hospital discharge. Patients seeking more information on Friend to Friend or Care Van can contact (727) 461-8010.

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility. Our commitment to improving the health of everyone we serve is reflected in our community partnerships and many honors. Morton Plant is the only hospital in the United States to have been awarded Top 100 Hospital designations by the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success for all 10 years. Morton Plant also has partnered with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, Tampa to provide research and services for cancer patients. In 2008, the hospital was awarded Magnet Designation for the second time by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., (727) 462-7000.