Maryland readmissions drop under Medicare waiver program

A Medicare waiver program in Maryland reduced readmissions by 4 percent at 67 hospitals last year, preventing as many as 5,000 readmissions, according to the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA).

The state's participating hospitals, according to the MHA quality and patient safety report, have:

  • Cut hospital readmissions 4 percent compared to 2013, outpacing national rates
  • Kept a rate of zero central-line associated bloodstream infections per month for 90 percent of participating providers and zero catheter-associated urinary tract infections for 83 percent of participating providers
  • Increased hand-hygiene compliance to 90 percent, compared to 71 percent in 2010
  • Reduced ventilator-associated complications by more than 50 percent compared to 2013

"In Maryland's new healthcare environment, the focus, as it should be, is on making sure patients receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place," MHA President and CEO Carmela Coyle, who writes for Hospital Impact, said in a statement about the report findings. "At the heart of that effort is maintaining the highest standards for hospital quality so that every single patient is provided the safest, most effective treatment."

The initiative was able to cut readmissions to below 12 percent for Medicare and Medicaid recipients as well as privately-insured patients, according to the report. The improvement is significant, as the state's progress on readmissions will be one of Medicare's criteria for whether the state will retain the waiver, along with other factors such as significant reductions of hospital-acquired conditions, according to the Washington Business Journal.

"The targets that are part of our new agreement with Medicare have really gotten all hospitals to lean in together in this effort to reduce readmissions," Nicole Stallings, MHA's vice president for policy and data analytics, told the Business Journal. "Hospitals have to collaborate in ways they never have had to before."

The state has seen several outcomes successes in the past year, including Western Maryland Regional Medical Center's reduction of readmissions by 21 percent year-over-year, part of a nearly 12 percent statewide reduction in preventable hospitalizations from 2011 to 2013, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the MHA's statement (.pdf)
- check out the report (.pdf)
- here's the Business Journal article