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3 Key Initiatives That Made Southern Maryland a Healthier Place to Live in the Past Year

Despite the change and challenges the pandemic brought to our lives and our community in 2020, University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center didn’t let that stop it from continuing its work to improve access to medical care and make Southern Maryland a happier, healthier place to live. In the coming weeks, we’ll release an official Community Health Improvement Report, but in the meantime, we wanted to highlight three of the many programs that helped create better medical outcomes for people in our community from July 2019 through June 2020.

Initiative 1: Charles County Mobile Integrated Healthcare

Based on a study we conducted on hospital data from the 2010s, we found that there were a handful of patients who made more than 20 visits to the UM Charles Regional Medical Center Emergency Department. More striking was the fact that some of these patients were making as many as 124 visits in an 11-month timeframe.

We noted that the majority of the patients in this group were either using Medicaid or Medicare as their primary health insurance. We knew that helping these patients manage symptoms with in-home self-care opportunities could reduce the likelihood of readmission to our Emergency Department — saving them from costly penalties on their insurance and limiting the potential strain on available resources at the hospital.

Since the start of the program, this initiative has expanded well beyond the original goal of 60 patients in the first three years, and it now serves over 130 people. In that time, the program helped reduce the following among participants:

  • Emergency department visits by 61%
  • Inpatient hospital admissions by 65%
  • 911 calls by 49%%
  • EMS utilization by 47%
  • 30-day readmissions by 73%

You can learn more about our Mobile Integrated Healthcare program on our website.

Initiative 2: Transportation to Wellness Pilot Project

In late 2019, UM Charles Regional was awarded a $26,000 grant from the Rural Maryland Council to help fund the “Transportation to Wellness” project designed to provide eligible patients with free transportation home from the hospital or to post-hospitalization appointments.

The goal of this program is to reduce the rates of important post-hospitalization appointments missed or canceled due to lack of transportation as well as lessening the burden placed on caregivers and family members. Over the past year, it led to more than 160 rides being provided to people who had a barrier to transportation such as economic hardship, mobility challenges, and/or were senior citizens. 95 percent of the people who participated in the program attended their necessary appointments despite having histories of missed appointments prior to this assistance. 

Initiative 3: Efforts to Reduce the Incidence and Mortality of Diabetes in Charles County

An estimated 8.3 percent of the adult population in Charles County has diabetes (~10,200 people). Additionally, according to the most recent data, the death rate in Charles County for people with diabetes mellitus is 26.3 per 100,000 people which is higher than the state average of 19.8 per 100,000 people. Based on this data, it was clear to us that we needed to play a bigger role in our community’s fight against diabetes. 

With this in mind, we took a multi-faceted approach with community-level and individual-level initiatives aimed at reducing the incidence and burden of diabetes in Charles County. To accomplish this, our team attended and hosted a handful of talks and events to spread awareness of the dangers of unmanaged diabetes. In addition, Diabetes Educator Cindy Adams played a pivotal role in leading our Diabetes Support Group and at our Center for Diabetes Education.

Through these ongoing efforts and events, our team engaged with over 1,000 people and imparted potentially life-changing information to people at risk for diabetes, people living with diabetes, and caretakers. This work recently helped us earn a five-year, $2.142 million grant to further expand programs in Charles County.

Want to learn more about how we’re working to improve the health of everyone in Southern Maryland? Visit the Community page on our website where you’ll find our most recent Community Health Improvement Report, upcoming class schedules, and more.

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