Supervisor wants county to lower rural hospital readmission rates

County Supervisor Joel Anderson on Tuesday introduced a proposal that would lower hospital readmission rates for rural San Diego County residents.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting the District 2 representative introduced a letter that directed the county to create a pilot partnership with the Grossmont Health Care District.

“Today’s action will proactively improve health outcomes for those living in the rural areas in my district, particularly vulnerable seniors who are home bound and don’t have access to transportation. The data shows us that rural residents have concerning rates of readmissions to the hospital after being discharged—so this program will support geographic equity by ensuring an equal distribution and delivery of health services throughout the County to those who need it,” Anderson said in a statement.

In the letter Anderson stated that residents in rural areas such as Pine Valley, Campo and the Greater Mountain Empire regions who need hospitalization are taken to the closest hospital, which is Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

According to Anderson’s office a review conducted by a partnership between Sharp Grossmont Hospital and the Grossmont Healthcare District revealed that over the last five years the number of patient readmissions to the hospital nearly doubled, from 9.1% to 16.8%. Readmission rates from non-rural patients, on the other hand, declined.

“This pilot program will focus on proactively providing at-home check-ins with discharged patients living in rural Second District zip codes, with a special focus on those with the highest level of readmission rates. Upon contact with patients, a County public health nurse would provide clinical discharge support while a firefighter/ paramedic would review living conditions and safety hazards in the residence and surrounding property and link constituents to existing programs within County Fire that promote safety,” the letter states.

“There is minimal fiscal impact associated in the current fiscal year and costs will be absorbed in the budget for the County Fire and the Health and Human Services Agency. If approved, the recommendations for this one-year pilot program will result in costs and revenue of $174,237 to fund a public health nurse. The one-time funding sources are $114,237 of one-time Health Realignment and $60,000 from the Grossmont Healthcare District,” wrote Anderson’s office.”


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