HHS announces nursing home care coordination initiative
A new federal initiative aims to cut hospitalizations among nursing home residents receiving both Medicare and Medicaid, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center and the CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office will launch a demonstration project in the fall to improve the coordination of care in nursing homes, focused around treatment for residents that keeps them from becoming a hospital inpatient. CMS will select independent organizations to put into place evidence-based interventions at interested nursing homes. This might include putting nurse practitioners into SNFs or implementing best practices to curb falls, pressure ulcers and urinary tract infections. CMS hopes to lower hospital readmission rates by 20% by 2013 through these measures.Almost two-thirds of nursing home residents are enrolled in Medicaid, with most also receiving Medicare. Dual eligibles are often the sickest and poorest residents, often requiring multiple hospital admissions. According to CMS research from 2005 on dual eligibles, nearly 40% of their hospitalizations were preventable, costing Medicare $2.6 billion in expenditures.