Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hospital Readmissions Gain Scrutiny

Hospital readmissions have been in the spotlight as a recent article demonstrated that a high percentage of patients are readmitted post an acute hospitalization. There is speculation that many of the readmissions are potentially preventable thereby leading to improved outcomes and reduced costs.

Coincidentally, The Joint Commission (TJC) Core Measures for Pneumonia, Acute Myocardial Infarction, and Congestive Heart Failure are also linked to reducing readmissions by implementation of the core measures. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently made public on its site information comparing hospitals on readmission rates.

Readmissions for specific diseases are likely to be reduced by improving adhering to evidence based interventions - including medications, counseling, and education. Across disease processes, there are some common interventions that are likely to yield reduced readmissions. These include medication reconciliation, ensuring understanding of discharge medications and instructions, scheduling a followup appointment, improving communication of discharge information to subsequent care providers, and undertaking either telephonic or in-person monitoring for high risk conditions.

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