Adventist Health and OHSU Together Improve Inpatient Access for Oregonians

The mission reach of Adventist Health Portland has been enhanced by a patient transfer center organized by Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) to more readily care for patients in need of immediate care. 

While living in a small Oregon community, Jon experienced severe pain in his left leg. His physician believed the swelling, cramping and numbness was the result of an accident Jon has suffered months ago. Realizing Jon needed immediate attention, his doctor called OHSU in Portland hoping they could provide a greater level of care for Jon.

OHSU did not have the capacity to accept another patient. Every patient bed was full. Fortunately, OHSU was able to activate immediate access to care through Adventist Health Portland. Jon was transported from his hometown to Adventist Health that very afternoon. A team of surgeons was able to care for him and ultimately help save his leg. “It’s for people like Jon that the patient transfer center was created,” says Wes Rippey, surgeon and chief medical officer of Adventist Health’s Pacific Northwest Region.

As Oregon’s largest academic medical center, OHSU serves Oregonians who require complex care and/or a service not available at a referring hospital. However, inpatient occupancy at OHSU Hospital has reached a tipping point, resulting in less availability of inpatient beds to fulfill this mission. For example, OHSU declined 505 transfers due to capacity constraints in fiscal year 2017.

In an effort to better serve more Oregonians, OHSU has partnered with Adventist Health Portland and Tuality Healthcare to create a health care system in the Portland metro area designed to provide immediate access to care. OHSU Mission Control was launched to manage both the strategic and operational aspects of capacity and transfer management.

The OHSU transfer center is a central point for managing inpatient capacity and transfers in real time. The transfer center is focused on placing the right patient in the right location at the right time to meet their individual care needs. Since the launch of this program, the patient transfer center has placed nearly 700 patients at Adventist Health Portland on the east side of the city and Tuality Healthcare on the west side. This has dramatically improved access to care for people like Jon. Recently, the transfer center also began evaluating if OHSU emergency room patients who need admission can be transferred to Adventist Health Portland or Tuality Healthcare. This process keeps beds open at OHSU for patients needing a higher level of care.

October 11, 2018 / Feature