Maury Regional Health receives federal funds to reduce hospital readmission rates


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Maury Regional Health (MRH) has been awarded $928,878 in Civil Money Penalty funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a program to enhance the continuum of care and reduce patient readmission rates through its post-acute care network (PACN).

In early 2018, MRH established the PACN, which includes skilled nursing facilities in Middle Tennessee with whom the organization shares patients. The goal of the PACN is to enhance safety, quality and patient experience by working together to utilize best practice treatment methods and protocols proven to result in better outcomes for patients.

The Civil Money Penalty funds will be used to reduce hospital readmissions—especially those associated with pneumonia and sepsis—through infection prevention, antimicrobial (antibiotic and antifungal medication) stewardship and rapid response to changes in patients’ conditions. 

The program will bolster education as well enhance deployment of a clinical pharmacist to guide antimicrobial stewardship and the use of video-conferencing technology. This will enable a rapid response team to assist caregivers at local skilled nursing facilities when they first assess a patient’s condition is declining.

“We have made great strides in establishing a post-acute care network focused on improving patient outcomes while reducing the cost of care,” said Mark Kirschbaum, PhD, RN, who serves as vice president of population health at MRH. “This grant will enable us to create a more robust program focused on education, antibiotic stewardship and rapid response. By targeting these three areas, caregivers will receive additional resources and Tennessee residents will see a direct improvement in their quality of life.”

During this three-year project, the PACN will provide quarterly reports to CMS that outline each participating facility’s readmission rate, antimicrobial stewardship efforts and rapid response team impact on quality of care as well as the lean improvement methodologies utilized to guide system improvement and the associated cost savings achieved.

The PACN includes more than 30 collaborative organizations ranging from skilled nursing facilities to home care and hospice organizations. The grant project will include 11 of the skilled nursing facilities treating the largest number of patients and provide value to these PACN health care providers by providing resources not previously available to help them serve patients. The participating facilities are:

  • Lewis County Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
  • LifeCare Center of Columbia
  • Mt. Pleasant Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • NHC Healthcare Columbia
  • NHC Healthcare Lawrenceburg
  • NHC Healthcare Lewisburg
  • NHC Healthcare Oakwood
  • NHC Healthcare Pulaski
  • NHC Healthcare Scott
  • NHC-Maury Regional Transitional Care Center
  • Signature Healthcare of Columbia

For more information, contact the Maury Regional Population Health Department at 931.490.7282.









Members of the PACN team at MRH are (l-r) Infectious Disease Pharmacist Zina Gugkaeva, Nursing Professional Development Director Susan MacArthur, Vice President of Population Health Mark Kirschbaum, Infection Control Director Lynnelle Murrell and Population Health Director Jill Gaddes.

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