Over the last two years, Mission of Mercy has been actively developing ways to “Share in the Care” of uninsured patients who utilize hospital emergency departments for non-emergent reasons. Currently, Arizona hospitals experience a 24% discharged patient re-admission rate for patients discharged within the previous thirty days. Many of these patients are re-admitted due to lack of a medical home and primary care physician. To address this huge gap, Mission of Mercy has developed an innovative partnership opportunity with local hospitals called “Partner to Grow” to assist uninsured patients to secure timely medical appointments for critical follow-up care.

The overarching goal of hospital partnerships is to reduce unnecessary ER visits and avoid costly in-patient admissions and re-admissions by the uninsured. The “Partner to Grow” initiative seeks to break the cycle of high hospital usage by the uninsured by providing an ongoing medical home and access to a primary care physician for the uninsured, underinsured and those seeking a healthcare safety net.

Uncompensated care within the hospital system staggering. In 2013, Dignity Health – St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center reported $104 million in uncompensated care for the uninsured. According to the National Health Policy Forum at George Washington University, nationally, approximately 75% of all emergency department (ED) visits not resulting in admission are for non-emergencies that should be treated in a non-emergency setting.

As part of our hospital partnership model, Banner Health has offered to donate a customized web-based patient scheduling software system called “MyHealthDirect.” For the first time, hospital acute care managers and discharge coordinators will have the ability to book patient appointments at Mission of Mercy clinics as part of the patient discharge process contributing to higher patient healthcare compliance and lower hospital re-admission rates.