Hospitals examining programs to lower readmissions

It is estimated that 1 in 5 patients released from the hospital will be readmitted within 30 days. Preventable readmissions to a hospital (within 30 days of patient discharge) are estimated to cost Medicare $17.4 billion per year.  Both the House and Senate health care reform bills include provisions to reduce hospital payments for unplanned readmissions. 

Fourteen communities are now following the lead of  the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Care Transition Project to help eliminate unnecessary readmissions.  The focus is on better discharge processes, greater follow-up, monitoring of chronic illnesses and connecting discharged patients to doctors.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, February 17, 2010; Jacksonville Business Journal, February 12, 2010)