There has been a tremendous push by the federal government to reduce hospital readmission rates in recent years. A significant motivator for reducing these rates is reducing Medicaid expenses that are often paid to hospitals, including for readmissions.
A healthcare network in Pennsylvania has taken direct strides in improving its home care program to help save millions of dollars through the years. Allegheny Health Network (AHN), based out of Pittsburgh, launched its home care program last year. As a result, the health network was able to improve the number and quality of services it provides to its clients, improving connectivity after discharge from the hospital, ultimately saving approximately $5 million during that time.
The majority of those savings have come from hospital readmissions that were no longer required.
According to Kourtney Liepelt, writing for Home Health Care News in the article, Health Network Saves $5 Million Through Home Care Program:
“In 2015, Medicare penalized hospitals a total of $428 million, or 3% of their total reimbursement, for readmissions within a month of being sent home, the Post-Gazette reported. This figure is up from $227 million, or 2% of total reimbursement, in 2014. And with a change in Medicare payments for joint replacement surgeries at Pittsburgh-area hospitals coming in April 2016, collaboration is proving more crucial than ever.”
One of the major factors in reducing hospital readmission rates through the years has been follow-up care and providing the right level of information and access to services that patients may need once they are discharged and sent home. Many hospitals in lower income environments have found it much more difficult to reduce these readmission rates because access to quality in home care services has been limited.
One of the major reasons why this particular program has found success is through new partnerships. One such partnership that Healthcare@Home found was with Celtic Healthcare Inc. Celtic Healthcare Inc. is an in home health and hospice care provider that offers services to clients throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland. This partnership essentially created the second largest provider in the region.
On top of that, Healthcare@Home created other partnerships to improve access to follow up care and support services that are instrumental in improving recovery, helping people remain within the comfort of their home, and ultimately saving millions of dollars over that time.
From the start of the program’s launch, hospital readmissions have been reduced from 19 percent to 14 percent.
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