Member Story: Fewer Emergencies
In 2019, Mr. B visited the ER more than 100 times. It’s not uncommon for disenfranchised members of society to get their healthcare from the nearest hospital. Having a primary care physician can feel like a luxury afforded only to the middle class. But Mr. B was in a more difficult place than most: he was homeless and in pain. Many of his ER visits were for shelter and relief for his knee pain.
When we first saw Mr. B, he did, indeed, have a torn meniscus, which caused considerable pain. He also had congestive heart failure, COPD, an enlarged prostate, peripheral edema, back pain, and an abdominal hernia. He did not, at first, admit to being homeless.
Here are the steps we took to restore Mr. B to better health.
- AbsoluteCare arranged for a cardiology follow-up and hernia repair surgery.
- We supported Mr. B with a plan for post-operative recovery.
- B met weekly with our social worker, at which time he picked up pain medications.
- We helped Mr. B to apply for and receive free phones, a replacement Social Security card, and food. Resources were provided as needed by our dietitian.
- Though our social worker made continuous efforts to find housing options for him, Mr. B declined shelters and supportive living arrangements. We applied for Tier 3 funding for him as homelessness was identified as a primary driver for high ER utilization.
After many months in our care, Mr. B has had remarkable success.
- He has had no utilization of the hospital ER at all and has used AbsoluteCare’s walk-in service appropriately.
- B has stayed connected with our team by phone throughout the pandemic.
- He has demonstrated compliance with medication protocols.
- The member will soon see an ENT and an orthopedist for evaluation of ear and knee pain.
Most important, Mr. B moved into an AbsoluteCare-sponsored apartment in June 2020, and he quit smoking.