Ask most any health care expert what single factor drives up the nation’s healthcare bill unnecessarily, and they’ll tell you this: patients who are re-admitted to the hospital within less than 30 days of being discharged.
Now, a report by the Northeast Business Group on Health confirms what those in the field know all too well: It takes a collaborative effort among many stakeholders to reduce those costly trips.
In other words, rather than blaming hospitals for readmitting a patient, the strategy involves giving hospitals new tools to spot high-risk patients, communicate closely and clearly with them and their caregivers, and monitor the discharge process carefully to make sure the patient is ready to go home, has the medications prescribed in the hospital, and has a caregiver with a plan ready to help them.
“I am happy to report that as a result of this work, we have preliminary interest in moving ahead with a readmissions reduction initiative in New York City involving several major health plans and hospital systems,” said Laurel Pickering, president and CEO of NEBGH, an independent coalition of large national employers and other organizations working to improve healthcare value and reduce cost.
“Employers also have an important role to play by facilitating dialogue around new business arrangements that foster collaboration between health plans and hospital systems, and by assisting in patient education and communications.”