House Call: Heart Failure – Avoiding a Return to the Hospital

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Congestive heart failure is the most common reason adults 65 and older get admitted to the hospital.

In the U.S., there are over one million patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of heart failure every year.  At Moses Cone Hospital alone, there are approximately 100 heart failure hospitalizations per month or close to 1,500 per year.

Within 30 days of getting discharged from the hospital for treatment of heart failure, over 20 percent of these patients will getting re-admitted to the hospital for heart failure or some other medical problem. Hospitals around the country are now being evaluated by their ability to follow these patients more closely and keep them from being readmitted.

Over the past year, Cone Health has been very pro-active in developing a cutting-edge congestive heart failure program dedicated to improving the care that heart failure patients receive in the hospital and in the clinic. The heart failure clinic team is made up of two board-certified physicians who specialize in the treatment of advanced heart failure, a cardiothoracic surgeon, three mid-level providers, a heart failure nurse, pharmacists, a dietician, case managers and a social worker.

The dedicated heart failure clinic team cares for patients while they are in the hospital, as well as follows up with all patients within seven days of their hospital discharge to ensure a smooth transition to home.

Cone Health’s heart failure program has networked with primary care doctors, home health nurses, EMS, congregational nurses and nursing facilities throughout the community to improve the care heart failure patients receive at home. The team has developed methods to check on patients remotely, as well as methods for patients to monitor their own condition at home.

With these efforts, Cone Health has reduced the 30-day readmission rate for patients with heart failure from nearly 20 percent to approximately 12 percent , which is nearly half the national average.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Daniel Bensimhon is a cardiologist at LeBauer HeartCare and a member of the Cone Health medical staff.  Dr. Bensimhon is one of the exceptional medical experts treating patients at the new, dedicated advanced congestive heart failure clinic at Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center.  He is a 1998 graduate of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Cardiology at Duke University Medical Center.