CMS reports 'sharp' drop in avoidable hospitalizations among long-term care residents

Share this content:
The reduction in hospitalization rates was seen in all 50 states, CMS said
The reduction in hospitalization rates was seen in all 50 states, CMS said

The rate of potentially avoidable hospitalizations among dual-eligible long-term care residents fell by nearly a third in recent years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported on Tuesday.

In a data brief posted on the CMS blog, officials documented the “real progress” made in reducing cases of potentially preventable hospitalizations among long-term care residents over the last decade. Overall, the hospitalization rate for beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid — including those outside of long-term care facilities — fell 13% between 2010 and 2015.

In that same five-year timespan, the rates of hospitalizations among dual-eligible long-term care residents caused by potentially avoidable conditions, such as dehydration, urinary tract infections and skin ulcers, dropped 31%.

Potentially Avoidable Hospitalization Rates for Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries Living in Long-Term Care Facilities, by State

Source: CMS

That decrease was widespread, with improvement documented in all 50 states. In total, the decrease meant dually-eligible residents avoided 133,000 hospitalizations between 2010 and 2015.

Blog authors Niall Brennan, chief data officer for CMS, and Tim Engelhardt, director of CMS' Federal Coordinated Health Care Office, attributed the decrease to the “committed work by those who directly serve older adults and people with disabilities,” as well as programs such as the agency's “Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Facility Residents.” The post also highlighted CMS' Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, Accountable Care Organizations and bundled payments as drivers behind the hospitalization rate drop.