OGH Behavioral Health Delivery Service Discharge Program
Driving Innovative Re-Admission Solutions
By Peter Ciotta
With reliable transportation, an early winter’s 70 mile drive from Buffalo south to Olean General Hospital in Olean, NY is a most pleasant ride.
Fluffy snow rests on the tree lines and rolling hills, painting the countryside with accents of white between the pine greens and late fall yellows and reds.
According to Gail Bagazzoli, BSN, RN, Vice President of Quality and Chief Nursing Officer, reliable transportation – a key social determinant of health – is also a critical element in a Medicaid patient’s successful discharge from the Olean General Hospital Behavioral Health Clinic. As Gail explained, it enables a patient to visit one of four local pharmacies and immediately fill and begin taking prescribed medicines that are key to continuing at-home recovery.
While this is the “best case” scenario; the reality – as described by Paul Green, Pharm D, MHA, System Director, Pharmacy — that has been experienced by not just OGH, but by behavioral health treatment facilities across the country, is that patients very often do not have either transportation, and in many cases, also have great difficulty with public transportation.
Add in the very real possibilities of economic hardship, lack of family support and housing issues, and the result according to Paul is ultimately a failed discharge in the form of medications not picked up nor taken; leading to eventual re-admission and the re-start of the care process.
To solve and “close” this revolving behavioral health care door, Olean General – with the assistance of Millennium Collaborative Care’s Innovation Program – has launched the OGH Behavioral Health Delivery Service Discharge Program where Sarah Ruszkowski, Pharmacy Courier, supports communication of prescriptions to OGH partner pharmacies, and then drives an MCC Innovation Program-supported Dodge Caravan to personally pick up and hand deliver medications directly to discharged clients.
Launched in April 2019, Sarah serves in her Courier role Monday through Friday and estimates she averages five to seven patient prescription pick up and deliveries per week.
In addition to removing the transportation barrier, Gail Bagazzoli added that OGH, thanks to an annual grant provided by the Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation (affiliated with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY), can access sums of $5-$20 to assist patients who are unable to cover co-pays.
Results to date? While OGH’s program is still in its early stages; projections show it’s on pace to cut readmissions by 50 percent!
According to data provided by Gail Bagazzoli:
- From May 2018 through April 2019, OGH Behavioral Health logged a total of 53 readmissions.
- From May 2019 through October, OGH reduced to a total of 12 readmissions.
“If we keep this pace for an additional six months, we should project 24 readmissions,” said Gail.
Overall, significant prevention of behavioral health patient re-admissions thanks to the implementation of an innovative observation “to deliver it ourselves!”
Olean General Hospital, an affiliate of the Upper Allegheny Health System, is located at 515 Main Street, Olean, NY 14760.
Please click on the following links to view brief video interviews with Gail, Paul and Sarah on Olean General’s Innovation Program initiative:
Meet Olean General Hospital; OGH Behavioral Health Unit
Gail Bagazzoli, BSN, RN, Vice President of Quality and Chief Nursing Officer provides an overview of the OGH, an affiliate of the Upper Allegheny Health System
OGH Innovation Initiative: Behavioral Health Delivery Service Discharge Program
Gail Bagazzoli, BSN, RN, Vice President of Quality and Chief Nursing Officer describes how working with Millennium helped OGH drive to a solution for avoidable re-admissions.
Barriers and Challenges Encountered by BH Patients
Paul Green, Pharm D, MHA, System Director, Pharmacy describes challenges commonly presenting obstacles to successful behavioral health patient discharge.
Overcoming Barriers and Challenges
Paul Green, Pharm D, MHA, System Director, Pharmacy describes OGH’s approach to effective patient prescription fulfillment.
Sarah Ruszkowski, Pharmacy Courier describes the role Millennium’s Innovation Program has played in enabling solutions.
Seeing Struggles Up Close and Personal
Sarah Ruszkowski, Pharmacy Courier shares her experience with client struggles.
Key to Success: Local Pharmacy Collaboration
Gail Bagazzoli, BSN, RN, Vice President of Quality and Chief Nursing Officer provides insight into the importance of collaboration between OGH and local Olean pharmacy partners in making the Behavioral Health Delivery Service Discharge Program ultimately work.