Vance County will be the first county in North Carolina to implement an award-winning mobile medication program to reduce hospitalization costs and readmission for adults with severe psychiatric illness.
Managed by Daymark Recovery Services, Vance County Mobile Medication Program will launch by early spring and aims to enroll 100 patients by the end of 2015. Patients with a history of psychiatric hospitalizations or repeated emergency department visits for behavioral health needs will be asked to participate.
“The model meets patients where they are – physically, in their homes, and emotionally, by recognizing that every patient experiences unique barriers to taking medications as prescribed,” said Julia Wacker, program manager. “By visiting people in their homes and providing ongoing one-on-one counseling and support, we can better address problems as they arise and before those problems escalate into a crisis.”
The North Carolina Mobile Medication Program is modeled after a promising project in rural Pennsylvania, which was the winner of the first Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust’s Innovations in Rural Health Award in 2013. In the Pennsylvania model, behavioral health workers visit patients in their homes to provide support and education regarding their medications. When enrolled, patients are visited daily, and gradually taper to a weekly phone call before patients are discharged from the program. In its first year, the Pennsylvania program helped reduce hospitalization costs in the area by more than $1.3 million.
In 2014, the Trust awarded the North Carolina Hospital Foundation, an affiliate of the NC Hospital Association, funds to implement the NC Mobile Medication Program in two high-need counties in NC. The sites will be supported with awards of up to $1.2 million over three years.
“The Mobile Medication Program is a great example of how investing in community programs can help reduce overall healthcare costs,” said Bill Pully, NCHA president. “Through education and engagement, hospitals and other healthcare providers can empower patients to improve their own health status. That is the key to building a healthier tomorrow in North Carolina.”
“The Trust launched the Innovations in Rural Health Award to bring thoughtful rural health solutions from around the country to communities in North Carolina,” said Allen Smart, vice president of programs at the Trust. “The Mobile Medication Program exemplifies a simple, low-cost solution with the potential to make a long-term impact on rural residents’ lives. We’re excited to see this work getting underway in North Carolina.”
Daymark was selected because of its strong partnerships with local healthcare agencies and its track record of providing humanistic services for people in crisis. NCHA will announce another county and implementing agency to pilot a second mobile medication program later this year.
To read more about the new mobile medication program, visit the recent news article.