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Further Proof That Transitional Care Works for Medicaid Patients

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 11, 2013

Research on Medicaid patients in North Carolina validates with data what we've known anecdotally for some time: Transitional care works, both to improve population health, and to save money.

Many studies examining the value of transitional care contain an obvious "Duh!" factor.

It's not a radical concept: If you follow up on patients post-discharge, make sure they're following a treatment plan, going to physicians' appointments, taking their medications, changing risky behaviors, etc., then it's less likely they'll be readmitted into the hospital.

Who knew! Get me rewrite!

Sarcasm aside, there is a lot of value in these seemingly obvious findings. They validate with statistics what common sense screams out and what we've known anecdotally for some time: Transitional care works, both to improve population health, and to save money.

A study out of North Carolina and published in Health Affairs makes that point on a statewide scale. Researches with Community Care of North Carolina, a public-private collaborative to coordinate care in the state, wants to reduce readmissions among high-risk Medicaid patients with chronic conditions. The study examined the medical records of about 13,000 Medicaid patients from across the state in a transitional program and who were hospitalized in 2010-11.

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