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Medicare, NW Denver Partners Launch Care Transitions Project
Date:6/15/2009

Effort Focuses on Preventing Hospital Readmissions

DENVER, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Northwest Denver consumers and healthcare providers will be introduced later this month to a federally-funded initiative that aims to reduce hospital readmission rates by improving patients' healthcare transitions.

"Currently over 16 percent of patients discharged from NW Denver region hospitals are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days," noted Jane Brock, MD, Medical Officer at the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care (CFMC). "A 10 percent readmission rate is considered unavoidable, so we know we can do better than a 16 percent rate."

It's important Brock and her project partners achieve improvement because readmissions are not good for the health of patients and they are extremely costly to the tax-payer-supported Medicare program.

The project in NW Denver is one of only fourteen such community efforts in the U.S. The project is being launched in Colorado with a kickoff meeting at 5 pm on June 29 at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, 4005 Kipling Street.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has contracted with CFMC, Colorado's healthcare quality improvement organization, to engage community partners including providers, patients and families in the project through 2011. Local project co-sponsors include Exempla Lutheran Hospital, Centura St. Anthony Central Hospital and Physician Health Partners.

"Collaborating with our partners in NW Denver to improve care transitions is one of our most exciting projects," said Brock, "and a perfect fit with our goal to assure that all patients get the care they need in the right setting and at the right time." Studies across the county have demonstrated that there are potential gaps in communication and coordination when patients transition from one setting or aspect of care to another, resulting in hospital readmissions, patient risk and increased costs. The aim of this project is to bridge those gaps and enable safer, more effective transitions.

"When we have preventable hospital readmissions, we fail our patients and we waste precious resources," noted David Munch, Vice President/Chief Clinical and Quality Officer, Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, "This is a critical issue to solve and we are proud to be part of the solution."

Jodi Chambers, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Centura St. Anthony Central Hospital, notes that improving how patients transition from one setting to another cannot be done without engagement and cooperation between organizations and people. "We are committed to working with skilled nursing facilities, community physicians, patient families, and others to demonstrate what a community committed to a common vision can accomplish," she said.

More information on the care transitions project and registration for the event can be found at www.cfmc.org/ctregister. This site offers information about improving care transitions for consumers and healthcare providers, as well as information about how to get involved in this project.

About the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care (CFMC)

CFMC is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare delivery and health outcomes for individuals and populations across the nation. CFMC is a nonprofit healthcare quality improvement organization (QIO) that has more than three decades of experience working in healthcare quality improvement. For additional information about CFMC visit www.cfmc.org.

This material was prepared by the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Colorado, under a contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.


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SOURCE Colorado Foundation for Medical Care
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