Ariel Linden, DPH, who published a study on readmissions earlier this month in the American Journal of Managed Care, says healthcare providers and the communities they serve will have to walk a fine line. "You need to create collaborative relationships to boost patient care," he says. "But how do you do that without monopolizing the community and increasing the cost of care?"
Ariel Linden, DPH
Resolve in Washington
Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are determined to push for reduced hospital readmission rates, "while addressing any unintended consequences, particularly for those hospitals serving dual-eligible and low-income beneficiaries," a spokesman said last week.
CMS, he says, is committed to working with hospitals through a multi-step process aimed at reducing readmissions.
"The first step to reducing the readmission rates is to understand what the readmission rates mean and how they are calculated. Prior to publicly reporting the readmission rates, CMS provides hospitals with Hospital-Specific Reports containing a comparison of their summary results to the state and national results as well as detailed discharge-level data. CMS also posts additional resources on QualityNet.org to assist the hospitals in understanding the measures' specifications. Together, these resources will assist hospitals in understanding the type of admissions that are included in the calculation of the readmission measures."
Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care editor at HealthLeaders.