Readmission Rates And Hospitalization Use Linked
A new study finds that efforts to keep patients from being readmitted to the hospital might involve efforts to keep them out in the first place.
Kaiser Health News: Study Suggests Readmission Rates May Reflect Broader Hospital Use
The high rate of hospital readmissions has produced a flurry of policy solutions to improve care for patients as they're being discharged and afterward. But new research suggests more concern might be directed elsewhere: at the doctors who decide not just to send patients back to the hospital, but to admit them in the first place (Rau, 12/14).
National Journal: Study: To Reduce Readmission, Reduce Hospitalizations
If you want to keep patients from returning to the hospital, you should aim to keep them out in the first place, a new study suggests. Medicare has been focusing on readmissions—when patients return to the hospital in the first 30 days after leaving—as a sign of poor-quality care. Beginning next year, the government will begin penalizing hospitals that have high rates of repeat customers. It is also funding a series of pilot studies that look at actions hospitals can take before and after discharge to make sure that patients understand their treatment plan and have the resources they need to stay healthy after they leave. Several studies have shown that such planning can drive down readmission rates (Sanger-Katz, 12/14).
In related news -
Kaiser Health News: Hospitals Try To Control Readmissions, Even When It Hurts Profits
What doesn't kill you only makes you a repeat customer. So says Prescott Pharmaceuticals, fictional and macabre sponsor of The Colbert Report. But it's no joke to the health care system. Repeat customers in hospitals are seen as a big problem – not to the hospitals themselves, which can profit from some patients' frequent visits, but to the entities that pay for the care: Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers (Mogul, 12/14).