Plan for Discharge Early, Often
A recent article in Managed Healthcare Executive outlined four ways to reduce hospital readmissions:
1. Get better, more timely data
2. Identify high-risk patients
3. Plan for discharge early and often
4. Follow up after discharge
Keeping readmissions down is a critical factor for hospitals and case managers. In 2015 CMS penalized 753 hospitals. Almost 20 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days of hospitalization and most of these readmissions are preventable, the magazine reported.
According to the article, not seeing a physician within a week of discharge worsens readmission risk so the hospital should consider actually making the after-discharge physician appointment and following up to remind the patient, rather than just telling the patient to make an appointment.
Similarly, don't just hand the patient prescriptions. Instead, forward prescriptions to a pharmacy that's convenient for the patient, coordinate with the next provider, and give the patient a supply of the medication(s) at discharge.
Discharge checklists can be a big help.
[Managed Healthcare Executive, December 20, 2015 Four Ways to Reduce Hospital Readmissions]