Hospitals use outpatient clinics, medical homes to treat fewer patients

To survive the post-reform environment that penalizes hospitals for preventable readmissions, healthcare organizations in California are boosting coordinated care efforts keep patients out of beds, reported the Los Angeles Times.

"How can we change our mind-set from how many patients we have in the beds to how many patients we are keeping healthy and out of the hospital?" Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center President and CEO Michael Rembis asked the LA Times.

With that approach in mind, Hollywood Presbyterian is teaming up with other area hospitals to determine the best and most cost-effective treatments.

Local hospitals also are increasingly collaborating with outpatient clinics to keep discharged patients from coming back, as well as ensuring admitted patients have shorter stays.

Similarly, hospitals in the state's Bay Area are using "patient-centered medical homes" to prevent chronically ill patients from being admitted, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

For instance, members of John Muir Health's medical home pilot program had 14 percent fewer emergency visits and 43 percent fewer hospitalizations since 2010. The extra coordinated care services, which are free to patients, saved about $253 per person per month, the article noted.

Since relatively healthy patients wouldn't realize savings, John Muir selects high-risk patients who regularly visit the hospital for its medical home program.

In North Carilona, the use of medical homes shaved healthcare expenses by nearly $1 billion between 2007 and 2010. Related expenditures were more than offset by savings from reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

To learn more:
- read the LA Times article
- here's the San Jose Mercury News article