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.
The 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.