Bright Spot – Ascension
One of the most frustrating issues for health systems with extremely limited bed capacity is the inability to discharge patients promptly because they don’t have transportation home. Taxi services and traditional rideshare companies are not designed for healthcare settings.
Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, provides tertiary specialty and 24/7 emergency care, including a level IV trauma center. It’s a busy hospital that consistently runs with all rooms occupied. During bust times, the Emergency Department cannot admit patients into the in-patient hospital because there are no available rooms.
Ascension has partnered with a startup called Carepool to help. They provide a trained driver to assist people recovering from procedures as well as the elderly or disabled.
Since healthcare rides are 100% of Carepool’s work, they are designed to meet the needs of recovering patients. They can even come inside to meet and assist the patient with a wheelchair as needed.
Linda Moore is an RN Case Manager who has worked with the system for 30 years. She said many patients cannot get a ride from a family member or friend and require more assistance than other non-healthcare-focused services. “Many of these patients are frail and still recovering from medical procedures. They need to be helped all the way to their door. Carepool’s team is very friendly and provides a wonderful service.”
By providing rides, Ascension has found it can discharge patients faster and more consistently. Patients are happy to return home and the hospital’s caseload improves. Josh Massey, Founder and CEO of Carepool described the economic model, “the cost of the hospital paying for rides is 10x offset by the added procedure reimbursement. It’s really a win/win for the system and the patient.” Over a month or a year, this leads to better patient outcomes, more procedures, and higher revenues for the facility. Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s and Carepool have worked together to develop an innovative solution. We can learn from their example.