Improvement of Psychiatric Ambulatory Follow-up Care by Use of Care Coordinators

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Abstract

This study examined whether patients discharged from inpatient psychiatric care would improve rates of follow-up appointments when designated staff (ie, care coordinators) were assigned to coordinate care after hospital discharge. Data were collected from 1313 psychiatric discharges in 2003 and 1804 psychiatric discharges in 2004, principally from hospitals in the Northeast states. Patients' health care was managed by Anthem Behavioral Health-Northeast. Appointment verification was made through Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set methodology. Of the 1804 psychiatric discharges, 71.6% kept an outpatient appointment within 7 days of discharge, and 88.3% kept an outpatient appointment within 30 days of discharge. These rates were a statistically significant improvement (P > .001) from the prior year's rates of 66.6% and 84.0%, respectively, when care coordinators were not used. (Am J Med Qual 2007;22:95–97)

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