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Admitting to a Readmit Problem

Depending on the approach, Medicare could take away dollars from low performers and/or pay more to high performers. Don’t expect Medicare to limit compensation incentives to acute care hospitals. Expect policy changes to also affect post-acute care facilities, home health providers and physicians.

One thing is certain: Hospitals and payers will expect and demand hospitalists to lead the effort to reduce unnecessary readmissions. No other group of physicians is better positioned to do so. How can hospitalists minimize the risk of hospital readmission? MedPAC has several suggestions:

  • Provide better, safer care during the inpatient stay;
  • Attend to patients’ medication needs at discharge;
  • Improve communication with patients before and after; discharge;
  • Improve communication with other providers; and
  • Review practice patterns.

Do these suggestions sound familiar? They should. Most of them are signs of high functioning hospitalists and hospitalist groups, and you should already be doing them routinely. TH

Reference:

  1. MedPAC Report to the Congress: Promoting Greater Efficiency in Medicare, June 2007.

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