When the federal government began placing increased pressure on hospitals to reduce their readmission rates, many said it was impossible. Some in what are considered poorer neighborhoods claimed that it would run them out of business, as their patients didn’t have the ability or resources to avoid a return trip to the hospital.
However, recent studies show that when hospitals team up with home health care agencies and support their patients after discharge, it’s making a world of difference in the lives of those individuals. It’s also been a positive step in helping many to avoid an unnecessary and unwanted return trip to those very same hospitals.
Developing partnerships has been one of the main keys to this success, and it doesn’t simply stop with home care, but can also include hospice, which provides patients facing the end of their life comfort and the ability to remain home rather than spending their final days, weeks, or months in a hospital environment.
Crain’s Detroit Business article, Hospitals use home health to cut costs of readmissions, written by Jay Greene:
“Partnering with hospitals in joint ventures is one of the strategies not only to add home health visits, but also hospice clients, said Justin DeWitte, CEO of Graham’s hospice division.
Over the past several years, a growing number of home health and hospice companies have signed contracts with hospitals to manage patients after they get out of the hospital.
“We are interested in doing home health partnerships and palliative care to help with chronically ill patients,” DeWitte said. “Hospitals need well-run companies working with them.”
DeWitte said hospital business has grown for Graham “more because of our ability to engage with people, transfer home health to hospice. We are doing more of that.””
The focus has been to develop a continuum of care, meaning when patients are discharged from the hospital and are then being visiting by home health nurses and aides, they continue to be cared for in a similar manner to what they experienced in the hospital setting. Plus, these home health care nurses and other providers can track vital stats and report that to the patient’s primary doctor for proper monitoring and adjustments of medications or treatment plans, as needed. This leads to fewer hospital visits and, more importantly, readmissions.
Home health care companies are tuning into this opportunity and as more hospitals become increasingly fervent in their focus on improving quality of post-discharge support and care, it will continue to have a positive impact on hospital readmissions.