A Week In Business – January 18, 2019

Innovator Award Presented

Biz A

Pictured, from left, at Atlantic General Hospital are Monica Taylor, RN coordinator; Paula Nichols, assistant; Charles Gizara, RN, director of clinical operations; Carolyn Miller-Cragway, RN coordinator; Colleen Wareing, vice president of patient care services; Michael Franklin, president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital; Gail Mansell, director of supportive care services; Andrew Cropper, chaplain; Jennifer Light, RN coordinator/telehealth coordinator; Jocelyn Palmer, RN coordinator; and Sharon Hegarty, RN coordinator. Submitted Photo

BERLIN Atlantic General Hospital was recently recognized as a Health Quality Innovator of the Year for Maryland. The award was presented by Health Quality Innovators (HQI), an independent, non-profit consulting organization. The Health Quality Innovator Awards are HQI’s program for gathering and sharing the best evidence-based, practical methods for enhancing quality of care across physician practices, hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Atlantic General was selected as a winner in the rural health category for its dedication to the health of the Eastern Shore community.

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In 2014, the hospital’s readmission rate was 11.09%. Readmission is defined as an additional admission to an acute care hospital within 30 days of discharge from that hospital or another acute care hospital.

To reduce hospital readmissions, Atlantic General deployed a community-based telehealth program using remote patient monitoring (RPM) to help patients through the delicate time between hospital discharge and the following weeks when he or she is working to establish good health practices with his or her regular doctor. The program’s coordinators can also intervene when someone’s health starts to fail but before there is a need to be admitted to the hospital.

Upon discharge, patients at high risk of readmission are set up with a custom kit, which might include a tablet computer, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, and standard weight scale.

Early results of Atlantic General’s initiative indicate its effectiveness in reducing readmission rates. By December 2016, Atlantic General had reduced its readmission rate to 8.89%, and as of today, the hospital is now ranked fourth best in the state of Maryland for low readmissions.

“We’re very proud to be recognized as a Health Quality Innovator of the Year,” said Michael Franklin, FACHE, CEO of Atlantic General Hospital. “This is truly a collaborative effort among a dedicated team of people working to improve the health of this community, showing how Atlantic General is the leader in caring for our community.”

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Monthly Market Recap

BERLIN – Increased interest rates and home prices continue to slow the market on the Lower Shore, according to the latest numbers from the Coastal Association of REALTORS® (Coastal).

New residential settlements in December 2018 were down by 27 percent overall compared to the same time last year in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. Individually, settlements were down by 33 percent in Worcester, by 15.3 percent in Wicomico, and by 44.4 percent in Somerset. Year-to-date settlements across the tri-county area totaled 4,443, which is four percent lower than the same time last year.

New listings that went on the market in December were down 14.8 percent compared to the same time last year in all three counties. That translates to 304 new listings and 3,091 active listings. Individually, available units were down by 14.7 percent in Worcester, by 24 percent in Wicomico, and by 3.2 percent in Somerset.

List prices continued to rise last month, reaching an average price of $195,027 in all three counties, which is 6.1 percent higher than the same time last year. The average sale price, however, was $182,995, which is eight percent lower than the same time last year.

“We saw four interest rate increases in 2018, and that, paired with increased listing prices, can cause some sticker shock, particularly for first-time buyers,” said Coastal President Bernie Flax. “The interest rate increases are expected to slow this year, so we’re hoping that will lead to an activity boost in the local market.”