AUGUST 27, 2015, 9:39 PM LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, 2015, 11:07 PM
BY MARY JO LAYTON
STAFF WRITER |
An ambulance crew dispatched from The Valley Hospital headed out to a Ridgewood home, sirens silenced and the rig moving at normal speed. They were making a house call.
The patient was a 79-year-old man recovering from heart surgery, one of a select group the hospital has targeted in the last year to prevent costly readmissions and provide better care by delivering treatment to the front door.
The Valley team has made 34 such visits, arriving quietly and parking a discreet distance from a patient’s house to prevent panic at home or on the block. Only one patient had to be readmitted, a success rate that has encouraged officials to expand the service, said Lafe Bush, a paramedic and director of emergency services at Valley.
Dispatching the emergency crews is one of the more innovative and cost-effective strategies developed by hospitals across the state to cover critical gaps in treatment that result in readmissions and costly fines, experts said.