The University of North Texas Health Science Center, in partnership with Brookdale Senior Living, will receive a grant from the Health Care Innovation Awards. The grants are made possible by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“What the [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] is doing is funding different projects that have a lot of potential,” said Joe Pagan, professor and chairman of the department of health management and policy at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. “Some may not work at all, some will. They are taking some risks when they fund projects like this.”
The program, INTERACT, or Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers, is the result of the partnership between the UNT Health Science Center, Brookdale and Florida Atlantic University’s Dr. Joseph Ouslander.
The program will help monitor people in senior care communities and bring attention to those who might end up in the hospital.
Pagan said he was confident the Health Science Center program will work and will be expanded to other facilities.
“We expect the program will reduce hospital re-admissions by 11.2 percent. If we accomplish that, we would save Medicare $9.3 million,” Pagan said.
Each hospitalization of a patient can cost Medicare about $9,700.
The UNT Health Science Center is leading the project. Officials are working with Dallas firm Loopback Analytics to track the hospitalization numbers. Brookdale, the largest senior living community operator in the country, will provide the facilities for the program.
The program will start in communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in Florida before expanding to other states where Brookdale has facilities.
Brookdale operates the Sterling House of Denton.
The UNT Health Science Center was among 3,000 applicants for the award. Applicants were encouraged to submit proposals that would help improve the health care system by reducing costs and generating jobs.
The grant funds will go toward information technology, making sure interact tools are integrated within computer systems, with some of it going into salary of nurses involved in the project and training staff at this facility so they can use the tools.
In a recent news release, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary, touted the health care law, saying it would give local communities resources to make the country’s health care system stronger.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.