Declining Hospital Readmissions in South Dakota
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Healthcare providers across South Dakota have been creating programs to help reduce avoidable hospital readmissions. A readmission occurs when a patient who was recently discharged from a hospital needs to be admitted to a hospital again, generally within 30 days.
At the national level, readmissions impact nearly 1 in 5 Medicare patients. These readmissions disrupt patient lives and are costly to both the patient and the hospital. Readmission performance is now publicly reported on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Readmission Reduction Program, which financially penalizes hospitals with higher rates
- Healthcare systems and providers are implementing best practices such as post-discharge follow up phone calls to patients, medication reconciliation strategies, home visits when needed, and many other local unique interventions.
- South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) has been bringing hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, physician offices, assisted living facilities, and other community members together in care transitions coalitions across the state. These coalitions have improved provider communication across the healthcare spectrum, identified the cause of local readmissions, and implemented interventions accordingly. In addition, SDFMC shared quarterly data to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement both statewide and locally.
- Hospital engagement networks have been providing support, resources, and educational opportunities to hospitals looking to improve.
- Sharing lessons learned between communities has enhanced statewide success.