In 2018, the District awarded a $249,000, two-year grant to the Health Council of East Central Florida to fund Happy, Healthy and at Home in West Orange. The program is designed to help reduce hospital readmissions by establishing a team of dedicated paramedics to visit local residents living with chronic health conditions and help them with self-care and disease management.

The results are beating expectations.

The average rate of Medicare hospital readmissions in our market is 19%, meaning that for every 100 patients with chronic diseases discharged from the hospital, 9 are readmitted within 30 days.

Through the new program, officials hoped to reduce the readmission rate to 18%; they were elated to have reduced the rate to 5%.

The data is promising, but it’s the anecdotes from the paramedics and patients that also give us hope.

In one case, a paramedic made a home visit to a female patient who’d been admitted to the hospital multiple times for COPD exacerbation. On arrival, he discovered the home had severe roof damage from a storm two years ago and that the ceiling in one of her bedrooms had literally caved in. She had insurance, but didn’t know how to file a claim, so he helped her with the paperwork. He also showed her how to order groceries online, so she didn’t have to rely on friends to take her to the store, and ensured she had regular meals by setting up meal delivery service with Seniors First.

Another paramedic reported that a patient told him, “you know, since you’ve been coming to see me, I have felt so much better.”

When asked why, she said, “it’s the reassurance you give me. You’re easy to talk to and you explain everything that I have a question about. I feel comfortable asking you anything. I guess it’s just comforting knowing you’re there for me.”

Sounds promising to us!