Simple Switch Has Big Impact
Being in the hospital can be stressful and expensive, especially if you're uninsured.
So when patient care facilitator Amber Rauch, B.S.N., R.N., came to work one Wednesday and learned about a patient who was ready for discharge but couldn't afford the medications her physician had ordered, Amber was determined to do all she could to help.
"One prescription was just $4, but the antibiotic cost about $3,000," Amber said. "And the third medication, Kristalose, was about $700."
The physician decided the patient could go without the antibiotic, but not the Kristalose. Because the patient couldn't afford the medication and so could not safely be discharged, he decided to keep her in the hospital until that Friday, when she would again have insurance. Knowing that the patient would prefer to be home with her family, Amber decided to look for another solution.
"I went online and started doing some research," Amber said. "I found out that Kristalose is a powdered form of lactulose. But lactulose syrup was only $4 at Walmart."
The physician confirmed with the patient and her family that they could afford the two $4 prescriptions, and she was discharged later that day.
Amber, who is studying for her master's degree and plans to become a clinical nurse leader, said the patient and her mother were relieved at the outcome.
Darla Banks, M.S., B.S.N., R.N., CNL, Amber's manager and director of the Clinical Nurse Leader Program, said Amber's actions did a lot more than just save money.
"Amber saved the patient from the exorbitant cost of the medication," Darla said. "But more importantly, the patient was released two days early – reducing her risk of a hospital-acquired infection and creating capacity for other patients in need of care."
Keeping an eye out for situations like this can help us meet the key performance indicator (KPI) goal of reducing excess days.