Hospital health fair focuses on avoiding readmissions

By BRYN STOLE Staff Writer

Greenwood Leflore Hospital will host a free health fair Friday featuring home health and hospice services, nursing homes and care facilities from across the region.

A special focus will be placed on ways to avoid hospital readmissions, though care providers will also be available to answer other questions and provide free health screenings, including blood pressure readings and blood-glucose level checks.

The fair will take place from 9 a.m. to noon in the hospital’s conference rooms.

Allison Faulkner, director of communications for the hospital, said the fair would provide the public an opportunity to learn more about some of the health care services available from providers throughout the area.

Faulkner said the fair was organized by a committee made up of local care organizations that have been collaborating on ways to reduce hospital readmissions.

Reducing readmissions — when patients return for additional treatment for the same ailment within 30 days — has been an area of focus under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The law imposes cuts to Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals with excess readmission rates.

“We want the patient to go home and get well,” Faulkner said. “We’re all taking extra steps to prevent them from coming back.”

She said it’s important to communicate with home health providers and nursing homes and follow up with other health professionals to clear up any questions about medication or treatment.

“It’s very important to follow up with the primary care physician,”Faulkner said. “Home health, hospice and nursing care do bridge gaps.