New Reports on Hospital Readmissions from STAAR and DHCFP

The Massachusetts State Action on Avoidable Readmission (STAAR) project has published a new report on the Patient Care Link website. The report – Reducing Readmissions: Highlights from the Massachusetts STAAR Cross Continuum Teams  – includes improvement stories from 22 of the 50 cross continuum teams working on reducing readmission.

Available on the Preventing Avoidable Readmissions page of the MA Coalition to Prevent Medical Errors website is a digest of customizable tools that eleven of the teams have made available free of charge. The STAAR work and these reports were funded by a grant from the Commonwealth Fund.

Also available from the state’s Division of Healthcare Finance & Policy (DHCFP) is a pair of new health care cost trend reports that conclude preventable hospitalizations have slowed, although preventable emergency department use has slightly risen.

The first report states that preventable hospitalizations are not driving cost growth, but remains a significant percentage of overall health care expenditures. Some of the more notable findings indicate that nearly half of preventable hospital admissions are for people aged 75 and older and 64 percent are for those over 65 years of age.

The report suggests something of no surprise to home care agencies, which is that managing chronic illnesses between non-acute health care settings is the best approach to combating the issue. However, the report further states the fee-for-service pay structure remains a barrier to that method working efficiently. Demographic influences aside from age were also noted as those lower income and some minority groups were more likely to receive costly and inefficient care that led to a higher rate of preventable hospitalizations among those groups.

As for the DHCFP report on hospital emergency department efficiency, the number of preventable ED visits rose 6.3 percent from 2006 to 2010 to a total of more than 1.17 million. Preventable or avoidable visits, the report continues, accounted for more than 45 percent of total ED visit costs.

To see both DHCFP reports, visit their  Cost Trends page.

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