The Senate Committee on Health Policy this week hosted two panel discussions — one on the benefits of hospital care at home and another on effective techniques heath care providers can use as an alternative to Emergency Departments.
Tampa General had expert presence on both panels: Dr. Peter Chang, vice president of Healthcare Design at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) and assistant professor in the Division of Cardiology in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine; and Dr. Jason Wilson, director of the Division of Emergency Medicine in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and medical director of Transitions of Care for Emergency Medicine at Tampa General Hospital.
“TGH at Home is the intersection of high technology and personalized care,” Chang said. “We’re able to treat patients in the comfort of their own homes, while creating efficiencies, lowering costs and improving patient outcomes.”
Tampa General launched TGH at Home in July 2022 to provide high-quality clinical hospital-level care to lower-acuity patients in the comfort of their own homes. The approach combines twice-daily visits at the patient’s home with advanced technology to monitor vital signs and conduct telehealth visits.
Based on the same standards used at the hospital, the model has proven to reduce exposure to infection or infectious disease and reduce the risk of readmission as well as improve the patient experience.
“I greatly appreciated the unique perspective and insight offered by Dr. Peter Chang and the entire Tampa General team,” said Chair Colleen Burton. “Innovation in the health care industry is vital to ensure top-class patient care, and I’m proud to say that Florida leads the way in innovative health care solutions through strategic partnerships with providers like Tampa General Hospital.”
Wilson briefed committee members about Tampa General’s efforts to direct patients to the most effective and efficient care options available, which can be a better choice for the patient than the Emergency Department (ED). Using alternatives, such as urgent care or telehealth, patients can benefit from receiving the right service at the right time.
Some of the pathways that Wilson discussed better connect the ED to the community so health care delivery can flow more smoothly across each care area and ensures that the ED has the capacity and space to always treat patients in emergency situations.
“The ED serves as the hub of modern health care and unscheduled care,” Wilson said. “It is critical that emergency medicine participates in coordinated approaches to improving health care in Florida by helping patients get to the right place for their care.”
Wilson was part of a panel discussion on efforts to ensure patients receive care in the best place possible, whether virtually or physically, in the ED, an office, a mobile unit or via telemedicine.
The hearing Tuesday marked the first meeting of the Senate Committee on Health Policy this year. Other speakers were Michael Maniaci of Mayo Clinic, Ann Claussen with Central Florida Health Care and Danielle Drummond from Lakeland Regional Health.
Tampa General has become a valuable resource to the Legislature on health care policy issues. In 2021, the Senate turned to Tampa General Hospital to develop and implement health guidelines and infectious disease protocols for the safety of members of the Senate, staff, media and visitors.
Also in 2021, then-Senate President Wilton Simpson participated in a celebration of Florida’s health care heroes at the Capitol, hosted by Tampa General Hospital.
In addition, several Tampa General team members have been appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to serve on state boards.
Dr. Seema Weinstein, manager of Psychology and Neuropsychology Services at Tampa General Hospital, serves on the Board of Psychology. Annmarie Chavarria, chief nursing officer at Tampa General, serves on the Florida Center for Nursing Board. Maja Gift, director of Pharmacy Services at Tampa General, was recently reappointed to the Board of Pharmacy. Nicole Justice, senior director of Patient Safety at Tampa General, serves on the Board of Medicine.