To prevent readmissions, new post-discharge clinics are sprouting up
Hospital readmissions — that revolving door of discharge, recurrent illness and repeated trips back to a hospital bed — are a huge and costly problem that many facilities are unable to fix.
Here, in a story from Kaiser Health News, is one possible solution: The ‘Post-Discharge Clinic’ where doctors and other practitioners focus on those vulnerable transition times and try to keep patients from returning to the hospital. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Post-Discharge Clinic is featured:
Deloris Eason, 64, was discharged from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center earlier in December, after having been treated for severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Clinicians weren’t sure whether she had had a bad case of food poisoning or colitis, an inflammation of the colon. Because her primary-care physician couldn’t see her until mid-January, hospital staff referred her to the post-discharge clinic. Continue reading
As hospitals and administrators here in Massachusetts bicker over whether providers should face financial penalties for higher-than-average readmission rates, facilities across the nation are struggling to keep patients from returning to the hospital again and again.
The Wall Street Journal health blog reports on findings out this week from The Dartmouth Atlas Project showing readmission rates for Medicare patients haven’t improved much in recent years. Katherine Hobson reports:
If you’re a Medicare patient admitted to the hospital, the odds are about one in six that you’ll end up back in the hospital within a month. And there was very little progress made in reducing that rate between 2004-09.
That’s the not-so-good news from a new report by the folks at the Dartmouth Atlas Project, which tracks variations in medical care across the U.S. The report also found that more than half of Medicare patients who left the hospital didn’t see a primary-care doctor within two weeks of discharge — identified as a contributing factor to the revolving-door problem.
But Hobson also highlights one Chicago Hospital, Northwestern Memorial, that has reduced its readmissions rates through a combination of fairly low-tech interventions: Continue reading