May 17, 2012

Grant bolsters effort to reduce hospital readmission rates

Grant bolsters effort to reduce hospital readmission rates

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been awarded a three-year, $2.4 million Health Care Innovation Award from the U.S. Health and Human Services Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop new strategies to reduce hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries.

The new award program was created by the Affordable Care Act to support projects nationwide that will save money, deliver high quality medical care and enhance the health care workforce.

The award is based on a proposal submitted by John Schnelle, Ph.D., professor of General Internal Medicine and Public Health and director of the Center for Quality Aging, who will be the principal investigator for the project.

Nineteen to 24 percent of Medicare patients discharged to post-acute care facilities are readmitted to a hospital within 30 days.

The VUMC project is designed to reduce readmissions by 17 percent, over three years, for select Medicare beneficiaries residing in Middle Tennessee through improved hospital discharge planning, patient education, follow-up patient counseling and improved clinical responsiveness at post-acute facilities.

The project is a partnership with National HealthCare Corp., which operates long-term health care centers. The estimated savings over three years total $8.7 million.

“I think what helped our project win approval is the lack, to date, of any focused efforts to reduce the high rates of hospital readmission among Medicare patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities,” Schnelle said.