What Is the Acute Care Continuum?

Wesley Curry

Wesley Curry , MD, FACEP

President and CEO

Published April 04, 2012

Welcome to our blog. The focus will be on the integration, management, and operational performance of the healthcare providers who are responsible for patient care and experience within acute care hospitals. My goal is for the blog to engage, inform, and serve as a vehicle to share ideas and thoughts among all stakeholders and healthcare professionals about a topic we simply call the "Acute Care Continuum."

In particular we will focus on the physician specialties and hospital departments where care for acutely ill and injured patients is provided – including the emergency department (ED), inpatient services, and post-discharge urgent and ambulatory care (UAC) provided in the 30-day window defined by CMS.

As we launch this blog we are waiting for the Supreme Court's decision regarding the 2010 healthcare reform law. Regardless of the outcome, the decision is likely to have little impact right now for those who work on the front lines of acute patient care and who face the Houdini-like challenges of having to provide the best medical care with fewer resources and for more people.

Vituity currently serves almost 35% of patients who visit the ED each year in California, as well as hundreds of thousands more patients in seven other states. As the CEO, I realize my organization, like other healthcare providers, will have a lot at stake in the conversation about the Acute Care Continuum. Galen, our affiliated hospitalist group, provides inpatient physician services to some of our client hospitals. In addition, the physicians in Vituity who provide urgent and ambulatory care also play an important role in the Acute Care Continuum, by providing follow-up for unassigned patients within 30 days of discharge to help prevent readmission.

What has become clear to me is that the integration of patient care by emergency physicians, hospitalists, and post-discharge outpatient follow-up will be crucial to the survival of hospitals in the future. It is my hope that this blog successfully brings a greater focus and understanding to the issues and challenges we face and to how hospitals and healthcare providers will collaborate to survive.

I encourage you to submit articles and join this discussion in the comments. Please submit your articles or article ideas to our editor, Sarah Maurer at Maurers@MedAmerica.com.

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