Combined Care

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News September 2014

Shepherd Center (Atlanta) and Craig Hospital (Denver) are forming an alliance to create a larger reach and higher quality of care to brain- and spinal-cord-injured patients.

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As part of the Affordable Care Act, health networks are realigning in an attempt to prevent hospital readmissions. This is especially tricky in cases of spinal-cord and brain injuries, as they are life-long conditions.

As the only two rehabilitation hospitals in the nation specializing in brain and spinal-cord injuries, the hospitals decided to create the alliance with a focus on decreasing readmission by improving patient care and access to care both at the hospital and at home by doing the following:

-Educating patients and their families on rehabilitation so they can identify and solve medical problems at home without returning to the hospital.

-Providing patients with at-home resources such as a call center, mobile apps and web-based access to health care providers.

-Creating new affiliates to help patients find primary and specialty doctors closer to home.

-Providing new research opportunities to find the best recovery practices for patients with spinal-cord and brain injuries.

-Educating providers on the best spinal-cord and brain injury recovery tatics at trauma centers, rehabilitation facilities, long-term acute care hopitals, home health agencies, health plans and workers’ compensation programs.

“We want to ensure patients have access to the highest quality of care if they sustain these types of acute injuries,” says Gary Ulicny, PhD, Shepherd Center’s president and CEO. “This alliance gives us broader geographic coverage and a more national focus.”

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