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National Study to Examine Best Practices in Home Health to Reduce Re-Hospitalizations

Delta Health Technologies is launching a national study to identify best practices being used by homecareís most successful agencies in reducing unplanned hospital readmissions.

Each year, millions of patients are discharged from hospitals, only to end up being readmitted.

A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that 20 percent of fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, and 34 percent return to the hospital within 90 days, often due to unclear discharge directions or lack of follow-up communication with their caregivers. Medicare is responding by paying reduced fees when a patient is readmitted for the same condition. The cost of avoidable readmissions to CMS is estimated at approximately $17.4 billion.

Co-sponsoring the effort will be the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign, the Forum of State Associations and Fazzi Associates, a national best-practice research firm who will manage and coordinate the study. Additional national groups are anticipated to co-sponsor or support the effort.

According to NAHC, since the inception of CMS's Home Health Compare site, home health re-hospitalization rates nationally have hovered around 29 percent, while at the same time, more than a quarter of all agencies have scores of 25 percent or lower.

The study will be overseen by a national steering committee made up of sponsors and key agency leaders from around the country. Initial findings and recommendations will be presented at NAHC's 30th annual meeting in Las Vegas. A complete report and webinars will also be provided at no cost to all homecare agencies beginning in late October.

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Source: Delta Health Technologies, May 31, 2011


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