SALISBURY, Md.- Health care providers, some of Maryland's top officials and the community gathered at the Lower Shore Clinic in Salisbury to officially kick-off a new critical care aftercare program. A check for $197,233 was presented to the Lower Shore Clinic on Wednesday to fund its CareWrap program.
CareWrap is designed to provide care for chronically ill patients and reduce the need for them to be readmitted to the hospital. Dr. Richard Bearman, who is the director of Lower Shore Clinic, is excited about the benefits the service offers the community.
"We are doing a necessary service here by being a safety net provider for folks who don't have good access to mental health and primary health care," Bearman said.
Hospitals are feeling the pressure to reduce re-admissions and the CareWrap program is designed to cut down on that according to Kathryn Fiddler, executive director of population health at Peninsula Regional Medical Center. Fiddler said in some ways a patient being readmitted to the hospital means the hospital is doing a disservice to patients.
"It concerns us. Now in today's new Affordable Care environment and with the hospital health care cost review commission, we actually get fined if we don't go a good job with patients and if they come back," Fiddler said.
The average cost of treating a readmitted patient is $10,000. CareWrap costs less and saves the hospital thousands of dollars, officials said.
Bearman said the service is similar to Urgent Care, but has its differences.
"Urgent Care facilities, to the best of my knowledge are not able to see people who cannot pay them in some way; and one of the remarkable things the clinic has done for 16 years, is we have seen people regardless of their ability to pay and we will continue to do that," Bearman said.
John Davenport lives in Worcester County and said a service like this is needed in the community.
"It's a good thing; with the unemployment rate some people just can't get the work and can't afford to pay for the health care that they need," Davenport said.
According to Bearman, the $197,233 presented to the clinic will keep the program up and running for a year. Bearman said as that year comes to a close, he hopes the success of the program will bring renewed funding from PRMC to continue CareWrap at the Lower Shore Clinic.