Acadiana Business

LHC Group helps win $3.8 M award for stroke care

by Leslie Turk

Local company joins forces with Ochsner Clinic Foundation to improve the care of stroke patients in the acute and post-acute settings. Lafayette-based LHC Group, a hospice and home health provider, was part of Ochsner Clinic Foundation's successful effort to secure a $3.8 million Health Care Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The awards were made possible by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court upheld Thursday. They are funding up to $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs.

The Ochsner/LHC Group Health Care Innovation Award, one of 107 granted nationally, will fund efforts by New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System to improve the care of stroke patients in the acute and post-acute settings. Ochsner is one of more than 60 hospitals nationwide that partner with LHC Group for the delivery of post-acute care services.

"Around the country, our hospital partners trust LHC Group to manage the transition of patients from acute to post-acute care," Don Stelly, a registered nurse and LHC Group's president and chief operating officer, said in announcing the award. "We've demonstrated our ability to deliver high-quality care at home, preventing avoidable readmissions, reducing health care costs and improving patient satisfaction.

As part of the winning proposal, LHC Group will work with Ochsner to manage the continuing care of stroke patients as they transition to the post-acute setting. Two telemedicine-enabled systems called "Stroke Central" and "Stroke Mobile" will allow care providers to monitor patients, evaluate outcomes and check on medication and treatment adherence on a real-time basis in the hospital and in the home.

The program is expected to reduce readmissions and save an estimated $5 million over the next three years.

The Health Care Innovation Award winners were announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in May and June.