I have to give my dentist credit. He and his staff know when I am due for a cleaning and call me to schedule an appointment without fail. They also call to remind me the day before an appointment. Many dentists, I understand, do similar kinds of things for their patients.
As a patient, I like being reminded — it’s a great service. I also like the fact that someone’s looking out for me. From a business perspective it makes a lot of sense as well. Fewer “no shows,” more cleanings, more billings, and so on.
It’s too bad that more physicians don’t routinely follow up with their patients, particularly when it really counts. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*
The Philadelphia Inquirer had an interesting piece Monday about a successful initiative in Camden, NJ (one of the poorest cities in the U.S.) that has dramatically reduced ED visits and readmissions. Among other things, a coalition of primary care providers has banded together to get more patients to see PCPs instead of going straight to the ED. (Appropriate patients are referred from the ED to these providers, for eg). Open-access scheduling, electronic prescribing and chronic disease registries also further the goal of preventive medicine that keeps patients from getting to the point where they need to go to the ED, or need to be admitted to the hospital.
The result? Monthly ED visits down by 32%, hospital admissions–and charges–down by 56%. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*
According to MedPAC, 18% of hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries resulted in readmission within 30 days, accounting for $15 billion in spending. Since treatable chronic illnesses are responsible for many such hospitalizations, it is assumed that they represent failures of the health care system. MedPAC claims that 84% of readmissions are potentially preventable. However, as will become evident, most readmissions reflect differences in co-morbidities, poverty and other social determinants, all of which deserve attention, including better transition care, but few of which are under the control of hospitals. Nonetheless, health care reform assumes that regulators can accurately adjust for such risks and estimate the “excess.”
Both the House and Senate bills include reductions in payments to hospitals with “excess” readmissions. Payment would be reduced 20% for “excess” readmissions within seven days and 10% within fifteen days. Hospitals with 30-day risk-adjusted readmission rates above the 75th percentile would incur penalties of 10-20%, scaled to the time to readmission. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at PHYSICIANS and HEALTH CARE REFORM Commentaries and Controversies*