Noteworthy News

Readmissions Reduction Target Too High?

Medicare’s goal of reducing hospital readmissions 20 percent – a key aspect of its hospital readmissions reduction program – may be too ambitious, researchers have concluded after evaluating the results of a special Connecticut effort to reduce readmissions.

In that program, a new approach to reducing readmissions tested on 10,000 older patients considered at high risk of readmissions employed interventions, transition support, education, follow-up telephone calls, and assistance finding community resources and assistance. The result? It cut Medicare hospital readmissions nine percent – less than half the 20 percent goal Medicare has set.

jama internal medicineThe study’s creators concluded that

Our analysis revealed a fairly consistent and sustained but small, beneficial effect of the intervention on the target population as a whole.

NAUH has long maintained that Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program treats urban safety-net hospitals unfairly by failing to adjust its expectations based on the socio-economic challenges the patients of such hospitals pose. The Connecticut study, undertaken on that very population, lends credence to NAUH’s oft-expressed concern.

Learn more about the study in this Fierce Healthcare report and find the study itself here, on the web site of JAMA Internal Medicine.

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