Coordination helps cut hospitalizations

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Care coordination models that use medication management, end-of-life planning and nurse involvement may help reduce hospitalizations and Medicare costs among skilled nursing residents, a recent study shows.

The research, published in March in Health Affairs, evaluated seven Enhanced Care and Coordination Provider models tested by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The examination was part of the agency's initiative to reduce hospitalizations among skilled nursing residents.

The evaluation, conducted by RTI International, estimated reductions between 2.2 and 9.3 percentage points in the likelihood of an all-cause hospitalization among residents participating in an ECCP model in 2015, and a drop of 1.4 to 7.2 percentage points in probability of a potentially avoidable hospitalization.

That same year the average per-resident Medicare costs dropped between $60 and $2,248 for all-cause hospitalizations, and $98 to $577 for potentially avoidable hospitalizations. 

The ECCPs that included nurses who provided consistent clinical care performed better than those that did not, the researchers noted.