Barnes-Kasson focuses on COPD as part of Rural Health initiative

Senator Bob Casey, seen here in a previous visit at Barnes-Kasson Hospital, met with hospital officials on Wednesday Oct 2. to talk about the hospital's involvement in the state's New Health Model. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (PA-D) visited Barnes-Kasson on Oct. 2 to discuss the Susquehanna-based hospital’s participation in the state new Rural Health Model.

Dave Passetti, Barnes-Kasson executive vice president, said the facility is initially focusing on COPD management. “We see a lot of that. I think everybody does,” Passetti said of the health condition. “It’s a diagnosis (all providers) deal with.”

COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – is often found in patients with a history of smoking, or from industrial or farming workers with exposure to dust.

Passetti said all five of the hospitals included in the spring launch of the Rural Health Model are working on that diagnosis. In addition to Barnes-Kasson, the other four hospitals included in the Rural Health Model include EMHS in Montrose; Wayne Memorial in Honesdale; UPMC Kane Community in McKean County; and Geisinger Jersey Shore in Lycoming County.

“There are innovations in changing the way we think about taking care of folks with COPD – we’re being more proactive and planning care so they can have more well days,” Passetti said.

Education is a part of that, as is pulmonary rehabilitation.

“We intend to have a pulmonary rehabilitation program off the ground by the end of the year,” he said.

Passetti said that when a COPD patient is discharged from the hospital, Barnes-Kasson is making sure they are armed with the right information, equipment and supplies for treatment “so it doesn’t turn into a full-blown exacerbation that ultimately leads to them being readmitted to the hospital.”

In addition to the public health component, the state’s Rural Health Model also provides hospitals with predictable revenue, which Passetti said is a benefit. But, he added, there are still some items in the program that need to be worked such as reporting and cost settlement reconciliation.

Passetti said the senator was familiar with the Rural Health Model and believes Casey is working on a similar idea to introduce at the federal level.

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