SOURCE: Medline Industries, Inc.

Medline Industries, Inc.

May 28, 2013 12:22 ET

Florida Atlantic University Receives NIH Grant to Study Effects of INTERACT® Program With Medline's eCurriculum on Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Project Aims to Show INTERACT's Effectiveness in Reducing Re-Hospitalizations

MUNDELEIN, IL--(Marketwired - May 28, 2013) - In a major initiative to help hospitals and nursing homes reduce avoidable and costly hospital readmissions and improve quality of care, Florida Atlantic University has received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effectiveness of its INTERACT® quality improvement program, including Medline Industries, Inc's online education and training program, on reducing hospitalization rates. The NIH is the country's medical research agency, supporting scientific studies designed to improve the health of the nation.

Starting in October 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began imposing severe reimbursement penalties to hospitals for avoidable and costly re-hospitalizations, which CMS estimates cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $17 billion a year. Almost one in four hospital patients who are transferred to nursing homes are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, and many of these are avoidable.

Medline has an exclusive partnership with FAU to make available online training for nursing homes in implementing the INTERACT quality improvement program through Medline's online clinical resource Medline University. INTERACT, which stands for Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers, was developed by an interdisciplinary team at FAU led by Dr. Joseph Ouslander of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and Dr. Ruth Tappen of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. The team's goal is to help nursing homes improve care and reduce the frequency of potentially avoidable and expensive transfers of their residents to the hospital. 

An initial study of 25 nursing homes using the INTERACT quality improvement program showed those facilities achieved a 17 percent reduction in hospital admissions among the residents. Projected savings to Medicare of reduced hospitalizations from a 100-bed nursing home were $125,000 per year at a cost of only $7,700 implementing the INTERACT program.

"While the results from our earlier research are very promising, we are very excited about receiving this NIH grant because it will enable us to conduct a larger trial of the effectiveness of INTERACT and Medline's eCurriculum in reducing hospitalizations," said Dr. Joseph Ouslander, senior associate dean of geriatric programs at FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. "A second goal is to demonstrate that those nursing homes implementing INTERACT will show a significant reduction in Medicare expenses related to hospitalizations than those facilities not using the quality improvement program."

The NIH funded study is expected to take approximately three years and includes more than 200 nursing homes. A group of facilities has been randomly selected to implement the INTERACT quality improvement program, including participation in Medline's eCurriculum to train project champions and nursing home staff on the INTERACT program and use of the tools and receive guidance from an experienced nurse practitioner.

"The potential impact on quality of care in skilled nursing facilities is significant," said Dr. Tappen. "By equipping staff with this training and the INTERACT tools, we hope to see an increase in successful management of patients and reduced re-hospitalizations when acute changes occur."

The effects of implementing INTERACT on hospitalization rates will be compared to the rates of other facilities randomly assigned to implement their usual standard care without specific training or assistance in implementing INTERACT. 

"We're proud to participate in this important study with FAU. Readmissions are a serious problem that affects the care of millions of people," said Andy Mills, president of Medline. "This study will help to show that nursing homes that implement INTERACT can help to dramatically reduce re-hospitalizations and their associated costs and improve the care and health of their patients." 

About INTERACT

INTERACT was first designed as a project supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and further tested in a project supported by the Commonwealth Fund under Dr. Joseph Ouslander's leadership. The tools target three key strategies to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations: preventing conditions from becoming severe enough to require acute hospital care; managing selected acute conditions in the nursing home; and improving advance care planning for residents among whom a palliative or comfort care plan, rather than acute hospitalization, may be appropriate. Using INTERACT's standardized protocol and working with an on-call nurse practitioner who visits the nursing home daily, some patients can be treated in the nursing home without any complications and only costing Medicare about $200 instead of $10,000 or more if the patient is hospitalized. Using such care in nursing homes nationwide could improve care, reduce complications from hospitalizations, and avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicare expenditures annually. For more information about INTERACT, visit http://interact2.net/.

About Medline

The nation's leading provider of medical supplies to the long-term care industry and the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products, Medline manufactures and distributes more than 350,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, physician offices, home care providers and retailers. Recently named one of the nation's "Best and Brightest Companies to Work for," Medline is headquartered in Mundelein, Ill. and has more than 1,100 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services. For more information on Medline, visit www.medline.com

Contact Information