THOT member, Harris Health, reduced emergency department visits by 15 percent for high utilizing patients, according to new research published in the July 2022 issue of Health Affairs. The health system created its multivisit patient program (MVP) in 2019 to address the holistic needs of individuals who are frequent users of the system’s emergency departments.

The MVP program works with patients coming to Ben Taub Hospital 15 or more times in a year or to LBJ Hospital 10 or more times. Many of these patients are experiencing behavioral health or substance use needs or homelessness. Program staff connect individuals with community resources and services and coordinate with other Houston-area hospitals on shared patients.

Ben Ma, the MVP program’s co-medical director describes the program’s value this way: “This patient population is so complicated and so diverse in a way that I’d never previously thought about. Each patient really has their own mixture of barriers, and it takes a pretty robust structure of dedicated people to get to the root of that.”

“Teaching hospitals are much more than inpatient institutions,” said Maureen Milligan, PhD, CEO, Teaching Hospitals of Texas. “Their role is to create and maintain health, and that means they invest in programs and services that help people avoid hospitalization. Harris Health’s MVP program is a stellar example of that commitment to addressing individuals’ total health needs.”