ST. PAUL, Minn.--()--Programs to eliminate complications that often require patients to return to a hospital prevented an estimated 382 readmissions to Regions Hospital in 2012. Each readmission to a hospital reduces medical costs by an average of $9,600 per patient, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This means an overall savings of more than $3.6 million in avoidable medical costs.
“As an integrated organization that includes hospitals, clinics and health plans, HealthPartners has the opportunity to coordinate care and provide services across our system to prevent repeat trips to the hospital”
Regions, which is part of HealthPartners family of care, began implementing programs to reduce preventable readmissions in 2009. As a result of these and other initiatives at HealthPartners Clinics and HealthPartners health plans, the rate of 30-day readmissions at Regions decreased from 11.5 percent to 9.7 percent –less than half of the readmission rate among Medicare patients (20 percent).
“As an integrated organization that includes hospitals, clinics and health plans, HealthPartners has the opportunity to coordinate care and provide services across our system to prevent repeat trips to the hospital,” said Rick Hilger, MD, a HealthPartners hospitalist and medical director of care management at Regions Hospital.
HealthPartners programs to reduce hospital readmissions include:
Personalized follow-up with discharged patients. Care coordinators call patients after discharge from Regions Hospital to ensure they get needed follow up care.
Support for at-risk hospital patients. HealthPartners health plan proactively offered free services to prevent medical complications for about 7,000 HealthPartners members who were admitted to hospitals in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and were at-risk of readmission.
Preventing mental health crises. HealthPartners health plan is able to identify and offer free care management services to patients at risk of having a mental health crisis. This program has decreased hospital stays for mental health conditions among participants by about one third.
Ensuring safe medications. About 3,500 HealthPartners members participated in Rx Checkup, a program to help members who are taking at least five medications. Pharmacists identify an average of two medications per patient that need adjusting.
Personalized care plans for patients who frequently visit the hospital. A pilot program of 35 patients at Regions Hospital reduced hospital admissions by 67 percent by increasing access to primary care and community resources.