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CMS gives St. Mary's Health System for Children almost $1 million for telehealth program

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | January 16, 2015
Health IT
St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children in New York announced on Wednesday that it has been awarded a $928,668 grant to implement a remote patient monitoring program that may improve home care services for children with severe chronic conditions.

The grant was funded by CMS and awarded by the New York State Department of Health.

Programs like these are more important than ever, now that the New York statewide Delivery System Reform Incentive Program that starts in April is aiming to bring down avoidable hospital admissions by 25 percent in the next five years.

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The pilot program involved 500 children with the highest risk for admission or readmission. The children received traditional home-care visits and frequent automated calls were made to the caregivers asking about the children's medication adherence, falls, emergency room visits, any serious medical events and other changes to their conditions.

The calls automatically generated reports and alerted the telehealth nurse-manager of responses that warranted immediate attention. The pilot program has not been completed yet but St. Mary's anticipates that it will increase communication among physicians, speed medical interventions and enhance organizational efficiencies.

AMC Health, a remote patient-monitoring solution company, is a supporter of the St. Mary's telehealth initiative. AMC has seen positive results for several of its programs, including one at Geisenger Health System in Pennsylvania that had a 44 percent reduction in risk for 30-day re-hospitalizations among Medicare populations.

"Based on successful outcomes in adult populations, we are confident that telehealth can be a major innovating force in the care of children with medical complexity," Dr. Edwin Simpser, president and CEO of St. Mary, said in a statement. "We expect this project to produce measurable outcomes in the home setting, reducing the need for more intensive medical care for children with multiple chronic conditions."

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