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Readmission Reduction Strategies Pay Off

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, March 16, 2011
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Preventing avoidable hospital readmissions is not only a hospital quality issue, it’s a financial one. With nearly 20% of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries discharged from a hospital being readmitted within 30 days and 34% readmitted within 90 days, according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study, fixing this problem has become a C-suite imperative.

The NEJM study shows that nearly half of the Medicare patients who are rehospitalized within 30 days did not have a physician visit between the time of discharge and readmission. It is that finding that perhaps offers healthcare leaders a path toward improving their readmission rates.

The solution healthcare leaders seek may lie with two hospitals, one on the top end of the readmissions spectrum and the other near the bottom, according to CMS. Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas has one of the lowest readmission rates nationwide at 17.3% as of July 2010, compared to the national average of 24.7%, according to CMS statistics, and Our Lady of Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago at one point had the second-highest readmission rate nationwide at 32.4%, but has since tackled this problem. (Note: The CMS rankings are based on heart failure readmissions data from 2005 to 2008 discharges.)

The Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital approach

As the saying goes, it’s not easy to be No. 1; after all, when you lead the pack, you also have to continually innovate to stay ahead of it. Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas is dedicated solely to the care and treatment of heart and vascular patients. The hospital provides inpatient and outpatient services focused on preventive healthcare and comprehensive cardiovascular disease management.

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