SwedishAmerican Celebrates Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program Partnership with Rockford Fire

SwedishAmerican, a division of UW Health is continuing to help connect underutilized resources to the underserved population at SwedishAmerican through its Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) program with Rockford Fire. Today, officials from both SwedishAmerican and Rockford Fire held a news conference and provided the community with an update on its partnership and the benefits it’s had on the city of Rockford and surrounding communities.

“We are pleased to announce that for the last two years we have been able to form a solid MIH program with Rockford Fire,” says SwedishAmerican Emergency Medicine Director Dr. John Underwood.  “There’s a need in our community and through the MIH program we’ve been able to fill the void and help underserved patients who need the most help. And it’s paying off. The hospital has seen a reduction in ED visits, ambulance runs and admissions.”

From August 2016 to December 2017, SwedishAmerican patients enrolled in the program experienced a reduction of Emergency Department (ED) visits by 35 percent, ambulance runs by 42 percent and hospital admissions by 40 percent.

This isn’t the first time SwedishAmerican is helping Rockford Fire with these efforts. The MIH program idea stemmed from a successful six-month pilot program that was conducted in 2014 between the Rockford Fire Department and SwedishAmerican. At that time, the City of Rockford dedicated a part-time Rockford Fire paramedic and SwedishAmerican dedicated a nurse case manager and pharmacist to conduct in-depth social and environmental assessments for a subset of high utilizer patients. At the end of the six-month pilot in July 2015, patients enrolled in the program had experienced a reduction of ED visits by 54 percent, ambulance runs by 38 percent and hospital admissions by 28 percent.

“The pilot program in 2014 was a huge success and made a positive impact on the individuals it helped,” says Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten. “Based upon the successful outcomes obtained from the pilot program, it was determined that the MIH program should continue on a permanent basis with the partnership between Rockford Fire Department and SwedishAmerican. It was a smart decision and has certainly paid off.”

Rockford Fire firefighter Brian Park is currently the MIH Manager for the program. Brian is both an eleven year veteran of the department and he’s been a Registered Nurse (RN) in the community for the past 11 years.  Through the MIH program, he works directly with SwedishAmerican’s case managers, EMS department, pharmacists, physicians and nurses at the hospital to identify patients and develop individualized care plans for each of them.

Brian currently sees 20 patients on a weekly basis often times accompanied by a SwedishAmerican nurse case manager. Each patient receives regularly scheduled home visits where Brian provides a medical assessment, ensures the patient is taking their prescribed medications and is following up with their primary care provider. He offers community resource support to help improve the patients’ health and wellbeing. In addition, he checks smoke detectors, CO2 detectors and any hazards that may exist in the patient’s home.

“One of my main goals through the MIH program is to help individuals focus on getting healthy, rather than just surviving,” says MIH Program Manager Brian Park. “Every patient wishes they had perfect health, but at times that’s unfortunately not the case. My goal is to help our patients get the resources they need to get back on track, whether that’s making a quick fix in their home or helping them get their doctors’ appointments scheduled.”

Individuals who are eligible for the MIH program include patients being discharged from SwedishAmerican with chronic diseases, patients who have complicated health management and those who are at high risk for health insecurity.

“Overall, the MIH program has been extremely successful and we are grateful for our partnership with Rockford Fire,” says Underwood. “The program benefits our hospital, it benefits tax payers and it ultimately benefits our most at-risk patients, allowing us to work directly with them and encourage them to take charge of their own health.”

In addition to the MIH program with Rockford Fire Department, SwedishAmerican has an MIH program in place with Byron Fire, Harlem-Roscoe Fire and Rockton Fire.