Abstract 2095: Health Policy: Can an Open Access Model for Intravenous Diuretics in an Outpatient Heart Failure Disease Management Program Reduce Hospital Costs?
Background: Heart failure (HF) is the most frequent discharge diagnosis for patients older than 65 and one of the most expensive diseases to treat for CMS. Patients with early symptoms of decompensated HF may need access to IV diuretics when oral medications used in a sliding scale dosage are no longer effective. Indigent patients without access to a private physician are at particular risk of having to use the emergency room (ER) for this reason. This model results in more costs and potential admissions. We sought to reduce ER use and improve quality of care and service to indigent patients followed in a Heart Failure Disease Management Program (HFDMP).
Methods: Grant funding was procured to provide free furosemide IVP, potassium and metolazone for patients enrolled in a HFDMP at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The HFDM program consist of intense patient education using DVD’s in both English and Spanish, written material, log books for weight, activity, blood pressure and diuretic use. Patients are instructed to weight daily and add an additional oral dose of furosemide at home for weight gain of greater than 2 pounds. For weight gain of greater than 5 pounds unresponsive to oral therapy, patients were given access to the clinic without an appointment for “walk-in” IVP furosemide, potassium and metolazone.
Results: 173 new patients were enrolled into program in 3 months (10/07 through 12/31/07). Of these, 115 visits for IVP furosemide were recorded from 54 patients. 16 patients used it multiple times (range 2–11). Average ER cost for all CHF patient seen and discharged after diuresis at JMH is $25,692. Therefore, an estimated cost savings of 115 avoidable ER visits is $2,954,586. In the last three quarters of 2007, of all CHF patients seen in the ER, 96.6% are admitted. The average inpatient cost for a primary diagnosis of CHF was $26,404.05 (LOS 5.25 days). The average for a CHF patient seen and discharged from the ER was $5,295 (LOS <48hrs). All monetary values are Billed Charges.
Conclusion: An open access IVP furosemide program is cost effective alternative to ER and inpatient treatment for CHF patients requiring diuresis.