Connections - 07.18.19

Reducing Health Risk and Improving Lives through Screening

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By Dr. Craig Escudé, President, Health Risk Screening, Inc.

There are PREVENTABLE causes of death in people with IDD. You may know about the Fatal Five: Aspiration, Constipation, Seizures, Gastroesophageal Reflux and Sepsis. There are ways to reduce the risk of death associated with these. But first, you must be able to identify just exactly who is at risk and for what conditions.

The Health Risk Screening Tool (HRST) is a proprietary, web-based, screening instrument that stratifies risk in these areas as well as a number of others – 22 areas in all. But, identifying risk is only part of the battle. Once a person is screened and their risks are identified, which takes about 30-60 minutes, the HRST then produces ACTION STEPS to help mitigate that risk. The Tool gives you “Service Considerations” which point to services, like medical evaluations, that the person might need. It also gives you “Training Considerations” which identify the specific types of training that support staff need to better identify early signs of risk and to know when and how to act to get treatment earlier, rather than later, for the person.   

Problems with clinicians not necessarily understanding the health needs of people with IDD? The HRST also includes “Clinical Considerations” that are meant to be used to provide clinicians with valuable, IDD-specific, health information that most of us did not receive in our medical or dental training programs.

The Health Risk Screening Tool is a very effective – and cost-effective- way to improve person-centered health and wellness in people with IDD and other vulnerabilities. That goal is part of the CMS final rule. And besides assisting with CMS compliance, it is also best for the person. Identifying previously unnoted health conditions and getting them treated can lessen suffering and improve the lives of those we support.

Dr. Craig Escude is a family physician with over 20 years of clinical experience in treating people with IDD and significant medical conditions. He is the President of Health Risk Screening, Inc. and can be reached at [email protected].