SC Healthy Outcome initiative focuses on frequent ER users

With one in five South Carolinians medically uninsured, the launching of the “Healthy Outcome Plans” by hospitals throughout the state recently appears to be the proverbial drop in the bucket.

The plans, done at the request of the state legislature, are designed to help those who rely on emergency rooms for their health care. About 8,500 chronic users of emergency rooms statewide are being asked to participate in pilot program that hopefully will find them a medical home. Participation is voluntary.

The chronic users represent 1 percent of the state’s uninsured.

But if the pilot programs at various hospitals -- Piedmont Medical Center, Chester Regional Medical Center and Springs Memorial among them -- are successful, it could be a fundamental change in the way we deliver health care in South Carolina to the those often in the greatest need.

If successful, hospitals would become the hub or center of a community system that would be a true safety net, a system matching needs with resources from the non-profit and for-profit sectors. The challenge for some will be identifying what resources are lacking and developing them. 

The legislature asked hospitals to devise “healthy outcome plans” that focus on the most frequent, uninsured users of their emergency rooms with chronic health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, sickle cell, HIV and AIDS.


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