The Associated Press
reports that a "major push is underway around the country to cut rehospitalizations, in part by arming patients with simple steps to keep their recovery on track," such as getting quicker follow-up doctor visits and lessening medication confusion.
"Less than a year into a Medicare-sponsored 'Care Transitions' project in 14 states, participating hospitals already are seeing readmissions start to inch down, says Dr. Barry Straube, chief medical officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services."
The projects are trying to take simple steps such as making sure that seniors get follow up appointments with doctors and get proper instructions with their medication. Rehospitalizations are estimated to cost Medicare $17 billion a year, and one in five Medicare patients is readmitted to a hospital within a month — one in four with heart failure (Neergaard, 12/8).