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Hospitals need networks to prevent readmissions

Kaiser Health News, October 5, 2012

The federal government wants many hospitals to adopt a model like Denver Health, which doesn’t readmit many patients. Dr. Thomas MacKenzie, the chief of quality at Denver Health, says a big reason is because the hospital is able to help patients get follow-up care once they leave. Denver Health does this through its own network of neighborhood clinics, which are all linked by a computerized record system. The hospital can let them know a patient who needs follow-up care is coming, and can help that patient get a priority appointment. But many hospitals don’t have close relationships with their patients' primary care doctors. Dr. Atul Grover is with the Association of American Medical Colleges, which represents hundreds of hospitals nationwide. He says setting up a more integrated system requires resources.