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Published on October 15, 2015

UHS fall prevention program featured in U.S. News & World Report

UHS' fall prevention program has been featured in the national news magazine U.S. News & World Report.

The recent article described how the STEADI program pioneered by UHS physician Frank Floyd, MD, and his team has become a model used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

STEADI stands for Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries, and focuses on fall risk assessment and prevention among older adults.

In 2012, noticing that the the fall rate was high in Broome County, the CDC approached Claudia Edwards, commissioner of the Broome County Health Department, about implementing a community-based prevention program.

Ms. Edwards contacted Rajesh Dave, senior vice president and chief medical officer at UHS, who in turn asked Dr. Floyd to champion the effort, the magazine reported.

Dr. Floyd and his team at UHS Primary Care Endwell, along with representatives from the Nursing and Information Services divisions at UHS Hospitals, developed a method for screening older patients for fall risk.

Once they are screened, patients at high risk are encouraged to take action to prevention falls, U.S. News & World Report said.

This can include referring patients to evidence-based community programs, such as physical therapy, tai chi classes or UHS Home Care's In Balance program, which offers in-home fall risk assessments and balance improvement therapy.

It can also include reviewing and changing a patient's medications, prescribing vitamin D or recommending a cane or other walking aid.

"The program has been rolled out to 18 sites across UHS," Dr. Floyd said. "Through mid-September of this year, a total of 41,300 screenings were conducted for 17,459 Broome County patients."

The healthcare system also achieved a pay-for-performance mark set by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield; 75 percent of patients in need of screening received a fall assessment in the year ending July 1.