HCR ManorCare is the 2020 Quality category winner in the skilled nursing track of the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards program.

Editor’s Note: The 2020 winners of the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards are being announced daily through Oct. 6. Skilled Care track winners are being announced here by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Senior Living track winners are being announced on the website of sister publication McKnight’s Senior Living.

ProMedica Senior Care (formerly known as HCR ManorCare) this year expanded its transitional call program using a call center to steer post-discharge communication before and during the COVID-19 crisis.

The company’s efforts have earned it a Gold in the 2020 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards competition in the Skilled Care track’s Transitions category.

The call program includes three calls to the patients in the two to three weeks after discharge. It started as a pilot program in 13 centers, with an additional 28 added through early 2020 and the remaining 127 ProMedica Senior Care sites added in the second quarter of 2020. For the call program, ProMedica contracted with the Nexus Health Call Center.

“Due to COVID-19, patients that return home are often reluctant to attend much-needed follow-up appointments or accept home health services due to fear of infection,” said Terri Russell, national director of case management, wrote in the company’s contest entry. “[ProMedica’s] Transitional Call Program includes tactics to address these concerns by educating them. … With decisions-based logic in the NexusConnexions transitional care software, the callers also follow-up with the patients on their specific concerns to either confirm the patient has acted or to reemphasize the importance of follow-up care.”

Before being discharged, patients are provided information on “yellow flag” and “red flag” issues related to their conditions. Although patients are directed to contact their treating facility with concerns, the call center also begins connecting with patients within 48 hours of discharge.

Conversations cover changes in condition — especially around the warning flags — and future appointments, home health services, and receipt of medication and durable medical equipment. Acknowledging the company’s range of patients with socioeconomic or other challenges, Nexus callers also can refer patients to county-specific resources for food support or transportation to medical appointments.

NexusConnexions reports monthly data back to each center, which ProMedica said has improved its ability to inform Medicare Advantage payers and others that it is providing successful transitions.

Elsewhere in the Transitions category, which is exclusive to the Skilled Care track:

  • Silver: New Jersey-based CareOne uses the self-navigating Ava Telepresence Robot and earned recognition for its ability to limit contact and improve remote monitoring and telehealth services during the pandemic.
  • Bronze: Gurwin Healthcare System in Commack, NY, has collaborated with local physician practices in using advanced remote monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, pulse oximetry and other vitals, both pre-admission and post-discharge.

Competition entries were submitted May through July this year and judged by an independent panel of industry experts, including skilled care and senior living specialists.

Stanley Healthcare is the Platinum sponsor of the 2020 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards. MatrixCare is the Gold sponsor for the Senior Living track.