Revisiting the Super Utilizer

Donald Meade, 52, at his apartment in Fullerton, Calif., on February 13, 2016. Meade, a recipient of the Illumination Foundation’s housing-first program, has battled addiction, cancer and chronic heart problems that fueled recurring visits to the emergency room. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

You know those people who make up 90% of the patients that go to the ER?  They are called frequent flyers by the staff but are called “super utilizers” for the euphemistically challenged.  Anyway, here is what I recommended to fix this issue three years ago in this blog :

  • Buying a small building or park a nice trailer next to the ER.
  • Get a few family docs and pay them a ton and I mean a ton (these are the toughest patients in the world).
  • Give them adequate staff to call these patients, visit these patients, etc.
  • Lastly, pay each of these patients $50 to show up to their regular visits.
  • Sorry, and one more thing, remove the EMTALA law for these patients and have a staff member (runner) literally walk them over from the ER to this new clinic when they show up.
  • The hospital and government would save millions of dollars each year.

Did they listen?  Yeah, right.  This article called Saving Lives and Saving Money showed how one group did do something.   Knowing that “frequent health care users representing just 1 percent of the patient population account for about one-fourth of health care spending”, they set out to do make a dent in the problem.

  • Paul Leon, CEO of the Illumination Foundation, a homeless health services group based in Irvine. Leon’s foundation runs the program, known as Chronic Care Plus, which has stabilized Meade and found him housing.
  • To break the cycle, Simmons conducts what is known as intensive care coordination. He helps the 37 participants, including Don Meade, find housing, get off drugs, get access to services, and make appointments with primary care doctors.

Here are the results from what this private group found:

  • The program saved $14 million in health care spending for just those 37 people over two years, compared with the two years prior to the launch of the program.

Once again, it proves how pathetic the government is at running programs and how small, private companies always do better.  It also proves that my plan would kick some serious ass and save this country an absolute ton of money.  It’s been three years and I am still waiting but the phone.

86760cookie-checkRevisiting the Super Utilizer