Friday, August 27, 2010

With Upcoming Medicare Changes, Hospitals Need to Reduce Readmissions

Improving how patients are discharged from the hospital to reduce unnecessary readmissions is a critical issue now being debated at the national level. With one in five elderly readmitted to the hospital within 30 days at an annual cost to Medicare of $17 billion, policymakers are seeking cost-effective solutions to better transition patients from hospital to home. INQRI researchers at Marquette University have been studying what hospital-based nurses do to influence outcomes that occur after discharge from a hospital. Specifically, they are looking at identifying the contributions that nursing staff make to the quality of discharge teaching on patient outcomes, readiness and readmission rates of patients who are discharged home. They have found that when units had more RN hours per patient day, less overtime hours and fewer vacancies, the discharge teaching was of higher quality, patients reported greater readiness for hospital discharge, and post-discharge utilization of readmission and emergency room visits was lower.

This works comes at a critical time.  New Medicare rules are coming soon that will cut payments for return visits.  Therefore, hospitals across the nation are doing what our researchers know to be important - they are spending more time focusing on discharge instructions with patients and caregivers.

Click here to read about these efforts in an article for MarketWatch.

No comments:

Post a Comment