Keith Schmitt had a hard time accepting that he'd have to change his diet and fast-paced lifestyle after he was hospitalized for congestive heart failure in December 2016. But nurses and physicians at Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, stayed on his case.
He went home with a monitor and scale for weighing himself every morning. If he reported he had a difficult night sleeping or the scale showed his weight rose, a telehealth nurse would call him immediately and ask him what he ate the day before. He also started cardiac rehabilitation right after discharge.
"They kept me focused on what I was supposed to be doing and got me mentally accustomed to my condition," said Schmitt, 62, a field supervisor for a plumbing contractor, who hasn't had another hospitalization or emergency department visit since.
This type of rapid follow-up work with patients, including telehealth monitoring, cardiac rehab and outpatient clinic visits, has been key in enabling Southwest General to succeed where many other hospitals have failed in Medicare's voluntary bundled-payment program for CHF patients.