Hospital costs drop 10% with gainsharing

Some hospitals in New Jersey are enjoying cost reductions of as much as 10 percent through the use of a collaborative care program with physicians, the Associated Press reported.

The gainsharing program, which was introduced in a dozen hospitals four years ago, pays doctors incentives to find ways to reduce potential overuse of resources without compromising care.

"For example, hospitals and physicians might set a new timetable for physician rounds. By simply moving patient rounds to the morning and ensuring that physicians discharge patients early in the day, hospital expenses are reduced and patients are allowed to continue recovering in the comfort of their homes," Sean Hopkins, the senior vice president of health economics at the New Jersey Hospital Association, said in a statement earlier this month.

Another such instance is the decision by physicians not to order 24 hours of patient heart monitoring after discharge from the intensive care unit, the the AP reported. In addition to reducing the use of heart monitoring, physicians also rely more on the use of less expensive oral antibiotics, instead of ordering intravenous versions of the drug.

The gainsharing program generated average annual costs savings for its member facilities of 8 percent to 10 percent, according to the NJHA. At Hunterdon, the savings climbed even higher to around 30 percent.

As a result, the NJHA is expanding the gainsharing project to more than 30 hospitals statewide later this year, the hospital association announced.

For more:
- read the AP article
- read the NJHA statement