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20 percent of hospitalized Medicare patients re-admitted to hospital within 30 days
Date:4/3/2009

ly have been the focus of discharge planning in many cases. Overall, 73 percent of patients who were initially in the hospital for surgery were readmitted for medical diagnoses such as pneumonia, heart failure, or bacterial infections. The study also showed that a history of rehospitalization and prolonged length of hospital stay were stronger predictors of rehospitalization than age, gender, race, poverty, or disability.

The authors suggest several steps to reduce rehospitalizations including: interventions to better educate patients about self-care in the hospital discharge process; helping hospitals better understand their comparative performance on readmissions by providing them readmission data for their patients including those who were rehospitalized elsewhere; collaboration between physicians and hospitals to ensure patients get follow-up care; and follow-up care from a primary care doctor as well as a surgeon for surgery patients.

"You have to worry about a system in which patients are rehospitalized soon after discharge with no bill for a physician visit in between," said Dr. Jencks. "If we want to prevent unplanned rehospitalizations, we have to help hospitals and community healthcare providers implement transition procedures that are more patient-centered. Patients and families should leave the hospital with a firm follow-up appointment and knowing what to take, what to do, who to call if something unexpected happens, and who they will see and when for follow-up. Doing less is unsafe because, as this study shows, almost all of these patients are high risktwo-thirds will be rehospitalized or die within a year of leaving the hospital."


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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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