Here are just a few examples of innovation and collaboration the Seton Family of Hospitals has helped bring to life.
The Indigent Care Collaboration (ICC)
In 1997, the Seton Family of Hospitals led the formation of an alliance of community providers for the medically indigent, including healthcare organizations, government entities and volunteer clinics. The goal was to work together to increase access, improve quality and find creative financing solutions for the provision of health care for the region’s uninsured. Today, members of the ICC include virtually all safety net providers within Williamson, Travis and Hays counties.
The Seton Family of Hospitals helped secure the organization’s first grant and provided staff to develop and launch the collaboration. The ICC has since become one of the most respected and innovative organizations in the nation. Supported by grants from federal and private charity organizations, as well as continued support from the Seton Family of Hospitals and other ICC members, this unique collaboration stimulates creative thinking for managing health care for uninsured Central Texans through shared data, medical records and enrollment criteria.
The Travis County Medical Society, Seton Family of Hospitals and other members of the ICC have initiated a coordinated system of volunteer doctors who work with other local providers to offer medical, hospital, diagnostic and pharmacy assistance for the uninsured in Travis County. The Seton Family of Hospitals helped secure a grant to create the program.
Patient Prescription Assistance Program
Improving access to medications for patients was key to both the Seton Family of Hospitals and the ICC. As a result, Seton selected a software program that is now shared by all ICC partners and helps to qualify uninsured patients to receive free medications from participating pharmaceutical companies. Seton also provides uninsured patients assistance with the often tedious and complex paperwork required by the drug companies to receive these free medications. Patients benefit from reduced costs and ultimately better health. ICC partners are able to extend charity services further because they no longer have to cover the costs of medications for these patients.
Nurse Triage Call Center
The Seton Family of Hospitals Nurse Triage Call Center makes Registered Nurses available around the clock—24-hours a day, 7 days a week—to assist callers with urgent care needs and schedule doctors’ appointments to avoid unneeded emergency room visits. The Call Center nurses are able to schedule same and next-day appointments for callers at participating ICC clinics. The Call Center receives approximately 90,000 calls per year. Nurses are able to redirect approximately 62 percent of callers to home-based self-care or a primary care appointment the following day.
Health Alliance for Austin Musicians
For several years, musician advocates in Austin have been looking for ways to increase access to care for area musicians who cannot afford to pay for health insurance. In a recent unique partnership, the Seton Family of Hospitals, the SIMS Foundation and the St. David’s Foundation formed a collaboration to address this need. The resulting Health Alliance for Austin Musicians now provides access to primary health care, diagnosis and medical treatment through the Seton Family of Hospitals, dental services through St. David’s Foundation and mental health services through SIMS.
Dell Children’s Medical Center/AISD Student Health Services
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, part of the Seton Family of Hospitals, provides healthcare for approximately 80,000 public school students through a unique partnership with the Austin Independent School District. The program covers prevention, wellness services, in-school medication, injured child care and management of chronic health conditions. It utilizes a unique software program that facilitates communication and collects data to improve services. The program identifies uninsured children who need additional medical care and connects them with care providers. The Student Health Services program was the first of its kind and has been replicated in schools throughout the nation.
Seton Care Plus
Seton Care Plus creates a managed care model for uninsured patients who are not eligible for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or the Austin/Travis County Medical Assistance Program (MAP). Like commercial insurance populations, use of medical services is tracked and monitored. Frequent users of emergency or hospital services can be identified and managed to assure they get the care they need and to better manage their conditions in a less expensive manner. Although there is a cost to the Seton Family of Hospitals to operate the program, the benefits of preventing inappropriate use of emergency or hospital care are far greater.
Disease Management for Patients with Chronic Conditions
Eighty percent of the Seton Family of Hospitals charity care dollars are consumed by 20 percent of the patients served because they have conditions that often make them very sick and require repeated ER visits, hospitalization, surgery, dialysis or stays in intensive care. Recognizing this growing problem, Seton has instituted a series of programs designed to provide extra case management assistance to these patients so they can better manage their disease. The results have been dramatic.