Group Discusses Goal to Reduce Avoidable Hospitals Re-Admissions 

Apr 13

MERRILLVILLE | Local health officials are looking for cooperative ways to reduce preventable hospital re-admissions.

It was the topic of discussion at a Friday meeting for members of the Northwest Indiana Healthcare Council through The Times Media Co.'s One Region, One Vision initiative.

Gary Olund, president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Community Action Corp., described the benefits of a Community-Based Care Transitions Program.

Care transition is when a patient is moved among health care practitioners and settings as his condition and care changes during illness, Olund said.

The care transition program was created under the Affordable Care Act. Improving care transitions can reduce avoidable re-admissions, which provides better care and promotes better health at a lower cost, Olund said.

One in five Medicare patients is readmitted within 30 days of discharge. In two years, Medicare will begin penalizing hospitals that have a high number of re-admissions, he said.

A care transition intervention program implemented in Colorado has been able to cut readmission rates by 35 to 50 percent. The $74,310 cost of the program is expected to lead to an annual $289,594 in savings, Olund said.

He hopes a similar result could happen in Northwest Indiana. With its experience in care transition and role in the community, the Northwest Indiana Community Action Corp. would be natural partner in a local care transition program effort, Olund said.

Brian Tabor, vice president of government relations for the Indiana Hospital Association, said even if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, most of the initiatives of the care transition program can remain, through government regulation.

"The federal government doesn't need the ACA for a lot of what it wants to do," he said.

Merievelyn Stuber, president of the Patient Safety Coalition, stressed the value of collaboration without competition among local health care leaders.

Couresy of The Times.

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