Habersham Medical Center’s Low Readmission Rate Receives Accolades in State Newsletter
DEMOREST, Ga. – One of Habersham Medical Center’s innovative quality initiatives was broadcast to hospitals throughout the state recently when the Georgia Hospital Association touted the Medical Center’s low readmission rates.
The October 25, 2012 edition of GHA: This Week emailed to the Georgia Hospital Association’s 185 member hospitals and health systems listed Habersham Medical Center has an example of a hospital that has been very successful in keeping inpatients from readmission within 30-days of discharge. For example, the medical center’s 30-day readmission rate for heart failure patients is currently 22 percent compared to the national average of 24 percent.
“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has engaged hospitals across the country to improve patient safety and quality and achieve lower costs,” says Teri Newsome, vice president of quality management at Habersham Medical Center. “As of October 1, 2012, CMS began decreasing hospital payments by up to one percent of their base Medicare reimbursement for patients who are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their last admission.”
Habersham Medical Center is not one of the hospital’s currently facing payment reductions from CMS because of its readmission rates and has been actively participating in the Georgia Hospital Association’s “40/20 by ’13” initiative, which is encouraging hospitals to reduce unnecessary readmissions by 20 percent and avoidable harm by 40 percent by 2013.
“Our special task force - made up of a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals from home health, long-term care and nursing staff - implemented several initiatives including calling congestive heart failure patients within 72 hours of discharge to make sure they are still recovering without any complications or concerns,” adds Newsome. “The team also places great emphasis on identifying any risk factors that might lead to readmission, such as lack of patients’ understanding of their medical condition, lack of ongoing caregiver support and transportation needs. Habersham Medical Center also created a Transition of Care program to enhance communication with other area health care providers such as nursing homes and home health agencies. “We want to be sure other providers have the necessary information to continue the plan of care and track the patient’s progress.”
“I really appreciate the dedication of our work force to the myriad of moments of truth that sum up to quality and satisfaction,” says President Dick Dwozan. “Recognition is appreciated and helps our staff see the results of their hard work, but what is really meaningful to them is to experience the difference they are making in people’s lives.”