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nib, Advara HeartCare clinics cut unplanned hospital re-admissions

A woman having her heart listened to by a doctor
  • Around 17% of people admitted to hospital for heart failure have an unplanned re-admission within 30-days, nib data shows

  • Multi-disciplinary Advara HeartCare clinics help reduce those admissions

  • nib also cuts out-of-pocket costs for cardiologist treatment for specialists in GapSure network

About 17%* of people treated for heart disease end up back in hospital within 30-days, in an unplanned readmission, having a profound impact on the health system, Australians and their families.

The annual direct cost of managing heart failure in acute hospitalisation is about $1.8 billion, with a further cost of care in the community close to $900 million**.

“A significant portion of this cost is associated with preventable readmissions,” said nib health chief medical officer, Dr Rob McGrath. “Given as many as 4.5 million Australians are estimated to be living with heart disease, there’s huge potential to better manage patients when they are discharged, to help them stay well and out of hospital.” A patient with heart failure on the Advara HeartCare program is about 10 times less likely to be re-admitted to hospital annually, compared to other patients with heart failure.

The latent risk of developing acute and chronic forms of heart disease among middle-aged Australian adults remains high, despite important gains including reduced smoking rates, a better understanding of the importance of exercise and a healthy diet.

About 970,000 Australians are now living with heart failure**, affecting a similar proportion of men and women. Women typically survive longer than men, and they have a lower risk of sudden death. Ischemia is the most prominent cause in men, and hypertension and diabetes contribute to heart failure to a greater extent in women. Sudden cardiac arrest affects more men than women.

Advara HeartCare senior cardiologist, Dr Leighton Kearney, leads the Heart Failure program in Victoria where patients are referred into a multi-disciplinary heart disease management program. “The program typically involves cardiologists, nurses, GPs and other allied health service providers,” Dr Kearney said.

“We see about 30 new patients a month, and typically a program includes a comprehensive treatment plan covering pharmacological and non-pharmacological management, along with education, understanding how to manage your own health, and skills development, along with ongoing support from a nurse.” Advara HeartCare has run its heart failure clinics for about nine years in Victoria.

nib Group, which provides health insurance to 1.6 million members in Australia and New Zealand, has partnered with Advara HeartCare, to provide access to clinics based in Victoria, for nib members who have health cover for heart and meet qualifying criteria. The program is offered at no extra cost for qualifying nib members, who must have been admitted to a hospital for chronic heart failure within 30-days of applying to be part of the Advara HeartCare program.

Nationally, any nib member with heart cover can also access nib’s national GapSure Cardiology network, which guarantees no gap for in-patient cardiology procedures to help limit out-of-pocket cardiology costs. Members must hold a product that covers heart and vascular conditions and have served waiting periods***. Members may pay out-of-pocket costs for other services, such as anaesthetics.

Advara HeartCare is Australia’s largest cardiology provider with more than 100 cardiologists who work across 70 centres nationally, with cardiac ultrasound (echocardiograms) available at a further 80 partner sites.

“Every 18 minutes an Australian loses their life to heart disease,” Dr Kearney said. “We need to focus on prevention, but also, what happens after people are discharged from hospital.”

In 2018, the National Heart Foundation of Australia and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand released guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of heart failure in Australia. These principles have guided and shaped how patients are treated and include a post-operative multi-disciplinary treatment program.

*nib data

** External reference - SS Chan YK, Gerber T, Tuttle C, Ball J, Teng TH, Ahamed Y, Carrington MJ, Steward S. Rediscovering Heart Failure: The contemporary burden and profile of heart failure in Australia. Aug 2015. Mary MacKillop Institute Heart Health Research, Melbourne, Australia.

***nib Australian residents which includes members covered by our partner brands

May 08, 2024

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