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IU Health Bloomington Working To Reduce Readmission Rate

The push comes ahead of new rules that will reduce hospitals' reimbursement for treating readmitted patients.

Bloomington Hospital

Photo: Bloomington Hospital

IU Health Bloomington Hospital has reduced its readmission rate to 7.6 percent.

IU Health Bloomington Hospital has reduced its patient readmissions about 16 percent since 2010. But that’s still below the hospital’s goal.

The hospital is one of hundreds of health care groups in the state are part of a federal initiative aimed at reducing readmissions 20 percent. In 2010, about 9 percent of the hospitals’ patients were readmitted 30 days after they left the hospital. Last year that rate has dropped to 7.6 percent.

That’s a percentage point higher than the hospital’s goal of a 6.6 percent readmission rate but still major progress, says Integrated Care Management Director Kathryn Bennett.

“There are things we set up, follow-up appointments, we do hand off surveys to the nursing homes and we take all the information and we gather it,” she says. “Then we put it together to say, ‘Do we see any reoccurring themes that we could implement an action to reduce the readmissions.’”

The effort is part of a federal initiative through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Betsy Lee is the Indiana Patient Safety Center Director at the Indiana Hospital Association. She says the 213 health care providers participating in the program don’t have anything to lose because they aren’t penalized if they don’t make the 20 percent reduction goal this year.

“The encouragement from CMS is that all American hospitals participate in this initiative for the purpose of learning and sharing and improvement,” says Betsy Lee.

But hospitals do have a financial incentive to reduce readmissions. The federal government is moving towards a bundled payment system where hospitals would get a single payment for providing care to Medicaid and Medicare patients. That means if a patient comes back to the hospital within 30 days, the hospital would have to absorb that cost.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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