Effective October 1, 2013, hospital readmissions above certain thresholds will be subject to payment penalties. Readmission is defined as admission to an acute care facility that occurs within 30 days of discharge. The initial focus will be on readmissions for congestive heart failure (CHF), acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia.
Reliant Home Health, a San Antonio-based home health agency, has been successful in reducing rehospitalization with specific CHF and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease disease-management programs. According to a 2006 study by Seattle’s Outcome Concept Systems, approximately 41% of patient rehospitalizations occur during the first three weeks following hospital discharge. Additionally, a 2009 study by the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at Brandeis University found the U.S. national 30-day readmission rate for CHF is 24.5%.
Building an alliance with the physician, hospital and other health care providers is an important component of providing proactive, preventive and personalized care for patients. A May 2009 Avalere Health report supports the conclusion that home healthcare saves more than it costs. Home health interventions for patients with chronic illnesses are associated with lower Medicare spending and reduce patient rehospitalization. These collaborative efforts can help solve the re-hospitalization problem, which translates to a win-win strategy for everyone.
Reliant Home Health’s rehospitalization rate for the period of January through August 2011 has been less than 10%, providing a significant impact for both the patients and the hospitals Reliant serves. The rate has been achieved with the help of the following measures:
Judy Wilson, R.N., B.S.N., is Executive Vice President of Business Development at Reliant Home Health. For additional information, please call (210) 558‑9606 or visit Reliant Home Health’s website at www.relianthomehealth.com.