DETROIT Heart patients' mental state and thinking abilities may help predict whether costly and potentially dangerous early hospital readmission will follow their release after treatment, according to the results of a significant new study by Henry Ford Hospital researchers.
The findings have important implications for the health care industry as it struggles to contain unnecessary costs, according to the study's lead author, Mark W. Ketterer, Ph.D., a psychologist and administrator for Henry Ford.
The study is published online in Psychosomatics.
"Wasted resources have become a central concern in American health care, including readmission soon after a patient has been released from hospital care," Dr. Ketterer says.
"Because heart failure has one of the highest readmission rates of all conditions that have been studied in Medicare and Medicaid populations, we decided to focus on it and try to identify predictors for early readmission."
What was found, Ketterer explains, was that a psychiatric history of depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, as well as impairments in a patient's ability to think, remember and reason, may well be such predictors.
"Given both the exorbitant fiscal costs and known health risks of hospitalization, including exposure to drug-resistant infections and medical errors, it could be well worth further study to test our findings." he adds.
Currently, Medicare is penalizing hospitals for what it considers excessive readmission rates. Last month, Medicare said it will access $227 million in fines against hospitals in 49 states as part of an initiative to reduce the number of patients readmitted within a month. Medicare said that 2,225 hospitals will see payments reduced for a year. Henry Ford Hospital is one of hospitals that will see a reduction in payments starting Oct. 1.
In the study, the researchers chose 84 patients who were admitted to Henry F
|Contact: Dwight Angell|
Henry Ford Health System