Increased coordination among acute and post-acute providers has reduced rehospitalization rates, signaling that healthcare reform is working, a senior Medicare official told the Senate Finance Committee on Feb. 28.

Jonathan Blum, acting principal deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, spoke to the committee about progress on delivery system reform.

The 30-day all-cause rehospitalization rate fell from a five-year average of 19% to 17.8% in 2012, Blum said. He presented this as evidence that readmissions penalties and innovative care models like accountable care organizations are making a positive impact.

Greater transparency and information sharing is fueling the success of multi-payer groups, Blum said. He noted that CMS has heard from bundled payment participants that seeing the Medicare claims of all the coordinated providers is “tremendously powerful.” Some acute care providers had no idea their patients were being sent to “10 different skilled nursing facilities,” and that some of these SNFs had better records than others, he said.

Blum’s testimony came on the same day that the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General released a report saying Medicare paid SNFs $5.1 million for inadequate care in 2009.