MISHAWAKA, Indiana – Hospital patients with ongoing medical conditions often are unable to receive the care they need because they don't have transportation to see their doctors or make other necessary appointments.
That barrier is being eased for patients served by Franciscan Alliance's 14 hospitals, thanks to a partnership forged with Circulation, whose digital platform coordinates convenient and reliable non-emergency medical transportation. Their mission is straightforward: Enhanced access to transportation translates into better health outcomes for patients.
It's estimated that more 3.6 million Americans miss appointments annually because of transportation issues, Circulation reports.
"Circulation's partnership with Franciscan Alliance speaks to the integrated and patient-centric focus aligned with the values of both organizations," said Robin Heffernan, Circulation CEO and Co-Founder. "This partnership is the most recent demonstration of how Circulation is managing patient logistics from hospital bedside through the cycle of care, extending into the patient's home and downstream to community providers. We are committed to turning better transportation into better outcomes for patients and excited to have Franciscan Alliance share our vision and passion."
Franciscan Alliance, whose hospitals operate under the name of Franciscan Health, has undertaken an initiative to reduce its 30-day readmission number following patients' discharges from inpatient stays. An internal analysis revealed the lack of transportation as the second leading cause of readmissions.
"As healthcare systems increasingly shift from fee-for-service to value-based care, we are implementing population health strategies targeting social determinants of health factors, like transportation, which account for up to 60 percent of healthcare spending," said Anthony N. Akosa, MD, System Medical Director of Franciscan Care Management. "Studies have shown that 25 percent of patient no-shows are related to transportation and with Circulation, we can reduce that number significantly."
The Circulation platform is designed to integrate outsourced transportation, owned fleets and medical logistics services. By consolidating these three typically disparate services, Circulation becomes a single access point for scheduling transportation, leading to improved efficiency and reducing all transportation costs.
The program includes 100 care managers and social workers involved in the discharge process. Here's how it works: If transportation is identified as a barrier at discharge, a care manager will set up a ride to take the patient home. Further, a care manager can arrange transportation to and from future appointments with primary care providers.
Circulation currently serves more than 1,500 health facilities in 40 states, including hospital systems, clinics, dialysis centers, community health services, managed care organizations and integrated delivery networks.
Franciscan Alliance, one of the largest Catholic hospital systems in the Midwest, serves more than 1.4 million patients throughout Indiana and parts of Illinois and Michigan. It employs more than 18,000 full- and part-time physicians, nurses, medical specialists and support personnel.
By Joe Stuteville
Media Relations Manager