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Study Suggests Key to Avoiding Medicare Readmissions

Researchers from the Columbia Business School believe they have identified the key to reducing Medicare readmissions.

Keep patients in the hospital for one more day.

The Columbia study “Should Hospitals Keep Their Patients Longer?  The Role of Inpatient and Outpatient Care in Reducing Readmissions” was based on an analysis of hospital records for 6.6 million patients between 2008 and 2011.

iStock_000001497717XSmallThe study compared the value of one additional day of hospitalization to that of better post-discharge management of patient care.  It found virtually no difference between the two types of additional interventions for heart failure patients but a significant difference when it came to pneumonia and heart attack patients, suggesting that the extra day in the hospital reduced readmissions within 30 days and saved the lives five to six times as many heart attack and pneumonia patients.

The findings could be useful for hospitals attempting to avoid penalties assessed by the federal government under Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program, which was mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Find a summary of the study in this Fierce Healthcare report and see the study itself here.

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