Home visits slash hospital readmissions, costs

A group of hospitals in upstate New York have been able to cut inpatient readmissions by 25 percent as the result of a home visit program, reported the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The collaboration between Rochester General Hospital and three other area facilities not only cut readmissions over 30 days but also cut down readmissions over a 60-day period, the article noted.

Reduction of readmissions is critical particularly for hospitals as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services intends to cut payments for excess numbers of patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge for congestive heart failure, heart attacks and pneumonia. According to reserach, up to 75 percent of hospital readmissions may be avoidable, Consumer Reports magazine noted in an announcement last week.

Specific cost savings from the initiative were not immediately disclosed but could be as much as $100 saved for every dollar invested, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

"The cost of the intervention is measured in hundreds of dollars," Martin Lustick, corporate medical director for Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield, told the newspaper. "The cost of a readmission is upward of $10,000."

The program, known as Care Transitions Intervention, was conducted in coordination with the hospitals, local home health agencies, Excellus and the Monroe Plan for Medical Care, a Medicaid managed care program, according to the article. State and federal grants will allow the initiative to expand.

For more:
- check out the Democrat and Chronicle article
- read the Consumer Reports announcement