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DYC Training Program To Help Reduce Emergency Department Visits

Buffalo, New York – October 23, 2012 – D'Youville College is collaborating with University Emergency Medical Services (UEMS) to train individuals as Certified Health Workers for an innovative program for Emergency Department (ED) patients.

Under a $2.6 million federal grant, the Better Health through Social and Health Care Linkages Beyond the Emergency Department (HealthiER) will assist Medicaid and Medicare patients in Buffalo after they leave the ED. (The designation "Emergency Department" has replaced the appellation "Emergency Room.")

"Once trained, the certified workers will go to the home of the recently discharged ED patients to help with the 'disconnect situation' once a patient leaves the ED," says Lauraine A. Neal, RN, MS, assistant professor of nursing at D'Youville and program developer. She is also the HealthiER Project Coordinator for UEMS.

"We will send the workers to high-risk, high-need patients that have been referred by the ED personnel and provide them with successful linkage to primary care, social or other health services in the community," she said. Education, coaching on health, wellness, and disease self-management will also be available."

The program is the first of its kind in Western New York and is voluntary. Its goal is to reduce Emergency Department visits by 30 percent, hospital admissions by 25 percent and inpatient readmissions by 25 percent.

D'Youville will train the volunteer community health workers in a three and a half week program starting November 1 and utilize faculty and students from the college's wide array of healthcare programs currently on campus. They will conduct home visits and provide specialized instruction on medication management, behavior change, physical therapy and nutrition.

Statistics show that the reason for repeated visits to an Emergency Department is the lack of primary care for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries. Seventy percent of patients with two or more ED visits are covered by Medicare and Medicaid resulting in a cost of $98.7 million.

University Emergency Medical Services is a non-profit practice plan that provides medical staff for the emergency departments at Buffalo General Hospital and the Erie County Medical Center.

The University at Buffalo Department of Family Medicine will provide care for patients without primary care providers.

Contact: Lauraine A. Neal at 829-8112 or email: