New studies, CMS rules attempt to lower rehospitalizations for seniors

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The rate of rehospitalization of seniors within 30 days of discharge from a nursing home has surged in the last several years, to an estimated annual cost of more than $17 billion.
However, a three-pronged intervention developed by the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston, shows promise. The center combined standardized admission templates, palliative care consultations and root-cause-analysis conferences. Their rate of patient rehospitilization dropped from 16.5% to 13.3%, and discharges home increased from 68.6% to 73%. The study was published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will end payments to hospitals for preventable readmissions for conditions such as heart failure and pneumonia, starting in October 2012. In other efforts to curb senior citizens' rehospitalization rates, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is currently accepting comments on a readmission measure under development for patients undergoing vascular procedures. The agency is working with Yale New Haven Health Services Corp./Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation to create the measure. Comments will be accepted through June 30. For more information, click here.