Hiring a director to support Highland Hospital’s care management programs led to wider hospital acceptance and cooperation.
When we began our program, it was under the Director of Care Management. He left not long after that and for more than a year there was no one really in his position. It was hard for us to be successful then because our support system was weak and we were just a grant-funded program without much clout.
Highland Hospital is a non-profit teaching hospital in Oakland, CA. It is a safety net setting hospital with 236 beds that serves a diverse population including low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations. Their transitions program began in 2012 and is influenced by Project RED and the Transitional Care Model.
What We Tried
When our new Director of Care Management arrived, things changed for us. She has oversight not just over our program, but all of the care management programs in the hospital (cancer navigators, health coaches, outpatient nurse educators, etc.). It’s her role to oversee our programs and figure out how they work together and fit within larger hospital initiatives.
Having a director behind us has been critical. With her higher-level perspective, she’s able to make the argument for why care transitions are important. Within care management, all of the different programs now meet regularly and we have been able to increase our efficiency by removing duplicate services and understanding when we can make referrals to other programs. Outside of the group, our director can paint a picture of how care management fits into the bigger picture of running the hospital. She has organized multiple initiatives to look at our patients’ entire experience from entering the ER to care management post-discharge. With her help, care transitions has moved beyond a grant-funded program to an integral part of the hospital’s operations.
Having executive support has freed me and my team up to focus on working with patients. It has also given us the time to really experiment with our interventions, reflect on their effectiveness, and tweak our program based on our learnings.
If you don’t have executive support make a plan to communicate with your leaders and be prepared to show your data.