Fisher: Readmission Problem Needs a Teaching Hospital Solution

Cheryl Clark, September 29, 2011

Wednesday's Dartmouth Atlas report targets a failure to reduce hospital readmissions and places 94 academic medical centers in its crosshairs, disproportionately heaping more blame on them than on community hospitals.

Between 2005 and 2009, "Academic medical centers made limited and uneven progress in improving care," the report says. "These findings suggest that even some of the largest and most technologically sophisticated hospitals in the country over the five-year study period face considerable challenges in improving care for the elderly."

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But the nation's teaching hospitals did not have higher rates of readmission than community hospitals, and regional variation was just "somewhat higher."

So I asked Elliott Fisher, MD, director of the Dartmouth Institute's Center for Population Health: Why pick on them? Fisher is an architect of the accountable care organization  and other concepts embedded in the Affordable Care Act.


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