Policies and procedures
Regulations from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services mandated that all substance abuse treatment facilities in the state become tobacco free and integrate smoking cessation education and therapy into the treatment of other addictions. The regulation resulted in increased access to cessation services and reduced smoking rates among patients and staff as well as some cost savings.
As mandated by State law, the California Department of Health Services requires acute care hospitals to maintain minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and to develop various systems to ensure adequate nurse coverage and quality, leading to more reasonable workloads, lower patient mortality, and higher job satisfaction.
A state-funded program gives individuals with mental illness a quarterly allowance for mental health and wellness services that can be spent at their own discretion, allowing them to spend more time living in the community and to function more effectively.
Large health care systems in Detroit came together to develop an organizational structure and common goals and policies designed to strengthen the safety net for uninsured residents, leading to increased enrollment in public insurance, enhanced access to primary and specialty care, and lower uncompensated care costs.
Verizon adopted a policy related to selecting vendors that emphasizes the ability to identify and address health disparities, leading to enhanced access to information and screening services for racial and ethnic minority employees, dependents, and retirees.
Specially trained and certified lay workers known as “Grand-Aides” use illness-specific protocols to ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment in primary care settings and to ease the transition from hospital to home after discharge. The primary care-based program has reduced unnecessary visits and demonstrated the potential to reduce costs. Early data from one hospital program show significant reductions in readmissions.
A medical center uses a standard protocol to improve collection of racial, ethnic, and language data from patients, leading to better interpretation services for patients with limited English proficiency and to more consistent, higher quality care for cardiac patients.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado and the Visiting Nurse Association in Denver jointly offer intense, consistent education to elderly heart failure patients discharged from the hospital in need of home-based skilled nursing care, leading to improved knowledge and self-management skills and fewer readmissions.
An outpatient clinic pilot tested use of widely available, inexpensive, easily implemented consumer videoconferencing technology to provide Spanish-speaking patients with an offsite interpreter during appointments, generating high levels of satisfaction among both patients and clinicians.
A supportive housing program for late-stage alcoholics who frequently use crisis services features policies that reduce traditional barriers and restrictions to obtaining housing, leading to reductions in alcohol abuse, alcohol-related symptoms, and costs.