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American Heart Association Leads Efforts to Reduce Preventable Deaths and Rehospitalizations for Heart Failure Patients
Date:4/2/2009

DALLAS, April 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An article, "Rehospitalizations among Patients in the Medicare," published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that almost 20 percent of 11,855,702 Medicare beneficiaries discharged from a hospital were rehospitalized within 30 days. The annual cost to Medicare for this rehospitalization is $17.4 billion.

Of the disease states detailed in the study, heart failure costs the U.S. an estimated $33 billion annually and is the most frequent cause of hospitalizations and rehospitalization for Medicare beneficiaries. In this study, 26.9 percent of heart failure patients were rehospitalized within 30 days. Many rehospitalizations for heart failure are preventable.

Understanding the strain that heart failure has on the healthcare system, the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines Heart Failure (GWTG-HF) program is helping hospitals improve the care they provide to patients. GWTG-HF has been associated with over a 20 percent reduction in the likelihood of rehospitalization or death in the first 60 days, which is the period of highest risk, with the goal of improving care for patients with heart disease and stroke.

GWTG-HF is designed to improve the quality of care in patients hospitalized with heart failure. The program aims to help ensure that eligible patients are initiated on guideline recommended therapies and receive appropriate counseling prior to hospital discharge.

"Heart failure is one of the most common, costly, and deadly conditions," said Gregg C. Fonarow M.D., chair of the GWTG Steering Committee. "While evidence-based, guideline recommended therapies are available, there are marked gaps, unexplained variations, and disparities in their use. GWTG-HF helps hospitals provide the highest quality patient centered care and ensures the right patient gets the right education and therapies at the righ
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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