Case study: TN ED diversion program works with clinics

A hospital in Nashville has become the next in what planners hope will be a network of hospitals diverting non-critical cases to local clinics. Skyline Medical Center has joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center as the first participants in the program, which is funded by a grant to TennCare from CMS. Needless ED use is far too common as it is, but the problem is especially common among Medicaid patients, 82 percent of whom visit EDs with minor ailments, according to the CDC.

The program is a collaboration between the hospitals and United Neighborhood Health Services, which operates a network of five non-profit health centers across the region. Its goal is to decrease TennCare's spending for needless ED visits, and to help people who come to the ED for non-critical care to find a medical home.

When patients arrive in the Skyline ED during the ED's peak hours of 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., and aren't suffering from an emergency, they'll be greeted by a United Neighborhood employee. The employee will let patients know which clinics are open and explain how the clinics work. 

During the first month of the program's operation, at Vanderbilt, 121 patients had been diverted to a clinic.

To learn more about this program:
- read this piece in The Tennessean

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