Their readmissions were compared with those of 8,000 Medicaid recipients who received little if any transitional care. The study found that patients in the transitional care program were 20% less likely to be readmitted in the following year and that one readmission was avoided for every six patients in transitional care, including one in three of the highest-risk patients, the study found.
"In terms of this being a 'no brainer,' one of the biggest things that this study adds to the literature is that it's becoming more and more evident that transitional care is effective," says Carlos Jackson, lead author of the study, and director of program evaluation at Raleigh-based CCNC.
"There are a number of randomized studies that show that the intervention is effective, but those studies are on a small scale in a very controlled setting. What is unique about our study is we were able to bring this to an entire statewide program, and that is very unusual. We are talking about an entire state, multiple healthcare systems and providers, different settings, different regions of the state with very different issues; being able to disseminate it in that way and actually show that it is effective. There is a lot of good stuff that has been shown to be effective on a small scale in a very controlled randomized study but when you try to roll it out into large scale program sometimes some of the effectiveness drops off. What was unique is that we could show that 'hey we are just as effective when we go statewide.'"