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Navigating Heart Recovery

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LOUISVILLE Baptist Health Louisville is one of 35 hospitals in the country, and the only hospital in Kentucky, selected to participate in the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Patient Navigator Program, the first program of its kind in cardiology designed to support hospitals in providing personalized services to heart disease patients and to help them avoid a quick return to the hospital.

“The only thing worse than coming into the hospital once, is coming into the hospital twice,” said Jesse Adams III, MD, FACC, with the Louisville Cardiology Group and Governor of the Kentucky Chapter of the ACC. “Teaming up with the American College of Cardiology through the ACC’s Patient Navigator Program allows us to apply a team-based approach to keep our heart patients healthy and at home after their hospital discharge. This is an exciting time and an excellent opportunity for our patients at Baptist Health Louisville.”

Nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to the original diagnosis. Readmissions can be related to issues like stresses within the hospital, fragility on discharge, lack of understanding of discharge instructions, and inability to carry out discharge instructions.

The ACC created the Patient Navigator Program to support a team of caregivers at selected hospitals to help patients overcome challenges during their hospital stay and in the weeks following discharge when they are most vulnerable. Hospitals chosen were given funding to establish a program that supports a culture of patient-centered care that can be implemented in other hospitals in the future. AstraZeneca is the founding sponsor of the ACC Patient Navigator Program.

“The ACC Patient Navigator Program provides evidence-based approaches to reducing hospital readmissions by meeting the unique needs of each patient,” said ACC President Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC. “Baptist Health Louisville’s dedication to quality is a key component of this program, which emphasizes a team approach to help patients make a seamless and secure transition from the hospital to the home.”

Hospitals in the program were selected based on their commitment to quality as demonstrated through participation in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ACTION Registry-GWTG and Hospital to Home Initiative. Nearly 400 hospitals were eligible for the program, with only 35 ultimately selected based on readmission rates, having recognized leaders in cardiology on staff, an established culture of quality already part of the hospital infrastructure, and varied geographic location.