Philadelphia-area hospitals cut readmissions by 7 percent
Twenty-nine hospitals in Greater Philadelphia cut readmission rates by 7 percent and saved $3.8 million in the third quarter, according to Transitions of Care Survey Summary Report from the Health Care Improvement Foundation.
[See also: Readmissions have hospitals stymied]
The hospitals participating in the 18-month Preventing Avoidable Episodes (PAVE) Project showed significant improvement in their implementation of 21 of 28 proven strategies to enhance transitions of care and prevent hospital readmissions, the report concluded.
Of these 29 hospitals, 18 submitted monthly data on the number of patients readmitted within 30 days, demonstrating an aggregate 7 percent reduction in 30-day same-hospital readmission rates, from a baseline of 12.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010 to 11.4 percent about a year later, in the third quarter of 2011.
The reduction represents more than 400 patients who avoided being readmitted to the hospital and more than $3.8 million in savings on unnecessary healthcare spending for the quarter.
The progress achieved through the PAVE Project should also help the region's hospitals avoid an estimated $7 million in potential health reform related Medicare penalties for higher-than-expected readmission rates in fiscal year 2013, according to the report.
"Readmission rates are important indicators of the quality and effectiveness of healthcare," said Kate Flynn, president of the foundation. "Many readmissions are unavoidable due to the complexity and severity of patients' medical conditions. Nevertheless, each hospital discharge represents an opportunity to better coordinate prompt and effective follow-up care, keep patients from returning to the hospital, and save thousands of dollars in hospital costs.”
According to an analysis of data submitted by the 18 reporting hospitals, Delaware Valley Healthcare Council of HAP, a partner in the project, found that these hospitals would have had 8,625 readmissions during the third quarter of 2011 if readmission rates had remained at baseline levels.
Instead, the hospitals reduced their aggregate, average readmission rate for the quarter to 11.4 percent, or about 8,220 readmissions, and more than 400 patients avoided re-hospitalization. Based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' estimate that each avoided readmission saves on average $9,600, this reduction in readmissions saved $3.8 million for the quarter or more than $15 million annually.