OCH Regional Medical Center has been selected by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. as one of only two hospitals in the Southeastern U.S. to participate in a pilot program that supports the continuity of care for patients as they move from the hospital to home.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals is the manufacturer of Brovana, a long acting bronchodilator used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

“The program consists of a voucher for a free two week supply of Brovana upon discharge from the hospital,” said OCH Respiratory Therapist Eddie High RRT, AE-C.  “Physicians may write a prescription for a patient, and an OCH Respiratory Therapist will secure the voucher for the patient. The voucher can be used at any participating pharmacy,” High continued.

High explained that the Medical Center was selected for the program as a direct result of the respiratory therapy department’s initiation of the reversible obstructive airway disease (ROAD) program last year.  Through the ROAD program, hospitalized COPD patients receive individualized treatment plans, one-on-one education, specialty-care referrals, pulmonary rehabilitation and access to a respiratory therapist who has been specially trained in COPD case management. The goal is to prevent emergency room rebounds and hospitalizations.

“Based on an informal survey by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, OCH is one of the more progressive hospitals in our region when it comes to proactively working to better the health of our community,” explained High, who led the training course for the ROAD program. “We are proud to be recognized for our hard work and pledge to continue improving healthcare for the people of the Golden Triangle,” stated High.

Initial data indicates that the ROAD program is decreasing the length of stay in the hospital, sending patients home healthier and better equipped to stay home and not suffer a re-admission.  These outcomes are directly in line with the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. In October 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began penalizing hospitals with excessive readmissions by reducing Medicare payments. Excess readmissions are measured by dividing a hospital’s number of “predicted” 30-day readmissions for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, hip/knee replacement, and COPD by the number that would be “expected,” based on an average hospital with similar patients. A ratio greater than 1.0000 indicates excess readmissions.

OCH Director of Respiratory Services Wes Andrews said, “Much-needed medications are not getting in the hands of patients because they cannot afford them.  This is one of the reasons we see readmissions within 30 days of discharge.  Through this pilot program with Sunovion, our team is able to implement another initiative to reduce hospital readmissions, and ultimately, help our patients live a better quality of life.”

Patients prescribed Brovana are eligible for up to two vouchers, which would yield a one month supply.  High said if a patient’s insurance won’t cover the medication beyond the 30 days, there are alternative medicines available. The pilot program runs through March 2017.  For more information about the OCH Respiratory Department, visit och.org/respiratory-care.

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