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Taking On the Readmissions Challenge

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 16, 2013

Charles Derus, MD
Vice President of Medical Management
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Downers Grove, Ill.


Charles Derus, MD


Charles Derus, MD
Vice President of Medical Management

There is a lot we have done at our hospital to reduce readmissions rates. When we looked into it we found not surprisingly that somewhere in excess of 20% of patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility were being readmitted within 30 days. We worked with our local nursing homes, set up a skilled nursing facility council and started to share some information and best practices around reducing readmissions. We brought that rate down to 14% in a year and a half. It was just sharing information about why people were coming back.

One of my other roles at Advocate was in a multispecialty group practice. They had put together a robust ambulatory management program for people with diabetes that focused on ambulatory care and improving transition in handoffs really reduced the readmission rate in that population as well. We at the hospital are pioneering with outpatient care managers embedded in physicians' offices to try to better manage people with chronic diseases and improved transitions. We have seen some early reduction is readmissions from improving both transitions and ambulatory care.

There is also a very clear connection between complications in the hospital for surgical patients and subsequent readmissions. Although some readmissions cannot be prevented there is a sizeable number that can be prevented and we just have to do things differently.

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