Hospital stays can be stressful for behavioral health patients – so much so that follow-up visits with a Primary Care Physician (PCP) or specialist often falls to the wayside. Follow-up care is an integral part of recovery, and as an AvMed Provider, you play a big part in that recovery.
If your AvMed patients have undergone an inpatient stay for behavioral health issues, make sure to schedule follow-up appointments with them within seven days of discharge. Why is following up so important?
- It helps reduce hospital readmissions
- It provides an extra level of support for the patient
- It eases the transition back to regular life
- It builds on the gains made during hospitalization
- It allows for medications to be reconciled
- It provides the opportunity to recommend or refer your patient to a behavioral health specialist.
Patients should have a clear understanding of their discharge instructions, and that starts with open communication between medical Providers. Ideally, patients should give permission for medical information to be shared among behavioral health specialists, Primary Care Physicians and other members of a patient’s medical team. That way, everyone stays informed throughout the entire process.
Another recommendation: Have your scheduling team hold a few appointments open for recently discharged patients. This way, those patients do not have to wait long to be seen. Other helpful practices include sending appointment reminders. Even a simple text can be enough to remind a patient of an upcoming appointment.
Similarly, remind the hospital staff to send you information regarding the hospitalization (if they have not done so already). Having that information available can help your patient get the most out of his or her follow-up visit with you.
Have questions about preventing readmissions? Call the AvMed Provider Services Center at 1-800-452-8633. You can also get in touch with the center by sending an email to Providers@AvMed.org. Log into your AvMed account for more Provider resources.