Program Targets Frequent ED Users
A program in Sacramento called Care Connection is helping frequent emergency department users find nonemergency medical services, housing and other social services, the Sacramento Bee reports. Program staff help patients contact social service agencies, fill out forms and locate transportation to doctor appointments, among other services.
The program, run by a coalition of 10 local groups and the University of California-Davis Medical Center, is funded by a three year grant from the California Endowment and California HealthCare Foundation.
Care Connection Director Robert Durlet said that in a study of 1,300 patients who regularly use the ED, the majority of patients have chronic illnesses and needed help obtaining social services. Durlet said patients who lacked transportation to doctor's offices or missed appointments often would seek care at hospital EDs.
UC-Davis refers patients to the program if they have visited the ED at least six times, but participation is voluntary. According to program coordinator Jennifer Kellogg, Care Connection has enrolled about 230 people out of about 1,000 referrals since the program began in 2005 (Geron, Sacramento Bee, 8/12).