KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicare Community Care Initiative Helps Lower Readmissions, Study Finds

The pilot project in 14 communities looked at a variety of strategies, including patient coaches, medication-management and better hospital discharge plans.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: CMS Community Initiatives Could Reduce Health Costs
A pilot program introduced by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to boost quality of care for seniors by developing community-wide approaches to health problems could play a key role in bringing down costs, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Rao, 1/22).

Modern Healthcare: State Quality Projects Curbed Readmissions: Study
A Medicare initiative aimed at smoothing transitions of care through community-based interventions successfully lowered 30-day readmission rates and all-cause hospitalization rates among beneficiaries, according to a study. Led by Medicare quality improvement organizations (QIOs), which contract with the CMS to lead statewide quality-related efforts, the 14-community project relied on patient coaches, medication-management strategies, home health tool kits, enhanced discharge planning and other interventions to keep patients out of the hospital. Communities that had multistakeholder care-transition programs in place had lower rates of 30-day all-cause readmissions and all-cause hospitalizations than did comparison communities with no such interventions, according to the study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (McKinney, 1/22).

Politico: Medicare Eyes Hospital Readmissions
Now a major multicity Medicare quality initiative, highlighted this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, has reduced readmissions by nearly 6 percent compared with similar communities over two years. The authors estimate that in an average community with 50,000 Medicare patients, spending $1 million on relatively simple steps to curb hospitalizations would save $4 million per year on hospital bills alone. That would add up fast if these programs were to spread nationwide (Kenen, 1/23).

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