Moore Foundation grants 600k for VMC’s innovative heart failure treatment program

In one of the largest grants ever given to the VMC Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Irene Moore Foundation has pledged over $600,000 to significantly grow VMCs innovative heart failure treatment program.

If successful, the grant will help VMC improve care for heart failure patients,  reduce the risk of readmission to the hospital for the same reason, and potentially save the medical center hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The project is as straight-forward as it is high-stakes.  By creating “intervention teams” of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, health education specialists and others, patients will be provided with the best, personalized care during their hospital stay, and - just as importantly- be given the tools and support they need to maintain their own recovery at home.

Heart failure, after all, is a tricky business. Once discharged from the hospital, patients must manage complex (and confusing) dietary, exercise and medication regimes – all after going through a near-death experience.  For many patients – especially those in poor health to begin with – managing their disease at home proves a burden too much to bear.   Many of them end up right back at the hospital, often within 30 days, for more invasive (and expensive) treatment.  In 2011 alone, 23% of patients discharged for heart failure at VMC were readmitted within a month.  It’s a cycle that doesn’t make people well, and makes poor use of resources.

But with support from the Moore Foundation, VMC can expand an already successful program with the goal of reducing 30-day readmissions for heart failure patients by 30%.   The benefit to patients is obvious.  Better care at the hospital, better care for themselves at home.

The benefits for VMC as significant as well.  Thanks to healthcare reform, the days of a hospital billing for services provided regardless of the actual patient outcome will be a thing of the past.  Under the new model, hospitals that can’t keep heart failure patients out of the hospital won’t get paid for readmissions. And why should they when the tools and know-how exists to keep these patients well.   The incentive is now to focus on better treatment, prevention and education to help patients stay out of the hospital.   That’s better for patient healing and, by reducing unnecessary and expensive hospital visits, better for the bottom-line.

Thanks to a vote from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, work is set to begin in November.  If successful, the county will have the option to continue the program on a permanent basis.

This is the third major grant awarded to the VMC Foundation by Moore since 2006.  Few private Foundations have done more to improve the quality of hospital care in the Bay Area.

The VMC Foundation congratulates the project steering committee who worked with the Moore Foundation to develop the project, including Aravind Swaminathan, Cathy Marlatt, Dionette Kelton, Jessica Song, Yi Chao Huang and Cliff Wang.  Special thanks to Nari Singh, Dave Manson, Michael Perry, Chanthavy Sivogxay, Jennifer Sprinkles, Mathew Harrington and Amy Carta for critical HHS support, and to Trudy Johnson, Rene Santiago and the Board of Supervisors for seeing this across the finish line.

Last but not least, our heartfelt thanks Liz Malcolm, MD, from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.  Without her, none of this is possible.

About Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott is the Associate Director of the Valley Medical Center Foundation.

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