Forum Focus – AHA unveils toolkit to help hospitals hire veterans

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is excited to share with hospitals and health systems a new hiring resource, “Hospital Careers: An Opportunity to Hire Veterans.” Part of AHA’s continued efforts in support of the federal Joining Forces initiative, the toolkit was developed with input from nearly 20 groups representing hospitals, nurses, physician assistants, community health centers, the federal government, veterans and military members. It’s designed to help hospitals recruit and hire veterans with clinical and leadership skills into nursing, physician assistant and other hospital careers, and includes examples of organizations doing as such, for example the Scottsdale Lincoln Physician Network.

Excerpted from “Hospital Careers: An Opportunity to Hire Veterans,” American Hospital Association, November 2014, pg. 11.

HOSPITAL HIRE: From Active Duty to Patient “Coach”

Scottsdale Lincoln Physician Network, part of the John C. Lincoln Accountable Care Organization in Arizona, has begun a program to hire veterans as patient transition coaches in order to lower readmissions.

The health system connected with local veteran organizations and asked that former hospital corpsmen and/or combat medics participate in the program. In September 2012, they started with two veterans and, after the initial success, spent time refining and building out the program, raising $780,000 to date from community groups to fund it. Within months, their readmission rate went from 21 percent to six percent. Currently, there are 14 transition coaches who work from a list of Medicare patients as well as hospitalist/nurse orders for visits. Visits are conducted early in the admission so the transition coach gets to know the patient and helps them get ready for their transition needs. The day after discharge, they visit the patient at home and do a variety of services from health checks to scheduling home health visits, to doing the dishes and moving or rearranging furniture to minimize falls. Furthermore, they do a social work assessment for additional services that might be needed. A transition services record in the electronic health record enables all clinicians to see their notes.

The coaches are highly motivated and have initiated programs with the pharmacy assistants to ensure patients can read their medication bottles (enlarging text as needed). As part of the program, all coaches are enrolled in college degree programs and most are pursuing clinical/health care positions. The program is co-led by a physician leader who reviews cases and provides focused supervision and a retired Air Force colonel administrator who provides an understanding of the specialists’ military background. Click here to view a video of their program: