Emerging healthcare policy aims at reducing preventable hospital readmissions

(News Medical) Reducing preventable hospital readmissions is a cornerstone of emerging healthcare policy. The U.S. government has developed payment policies that will decrease payments to hospitals with excess patient readmission levels, for example. Early lessons learned from these current policy initiatives hint at their likelihood for success and are examined in an insightful article in Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Population Health Management website at http://www.liebertpub.com/pop.

In “Turning Readmission Reduction Policies into Results: Some Lessons from a Multistate Initiative to Reduce Readmissions,” Jessica Mittler, PhD and coauthors from The Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA), Weill Cornell Medical College (New York, NY), and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Philadelphia, PA) present findings to suggest that current readmissions policies will produce “uncertain success.”

Mittler et al. identify three critical challenges that stand in the way of the success of current policies, and propose specific strategies and interventions based on the development of collaborative relationships within the medical community and more coordinated care, more evidence-based policy decisions, and the importance of targeting improvement and incentives to individual institutions.

“Medicare has wisely moved away from the traditional fee-for-service model. The future belongs to those providers who work to establish collaborative relationships across the care community and invest in programs that keep patients out of the hospital,” saysPopulation Health Management Editor-in-Chief David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dean and Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor, Jefferson School of Population Health, Philadelphia, PA.