A study in JAMA Internal Medicine says that Medicare’s goal of reducing all hospitals readmissions by 20 percent “may be overambitious.”
Yale researchers developed a readmission-reduction program and tested it on 10,000 older patients with Medicare fee-for-service insurance and recently discharged from an urban hospital but with a high-risk for readmission. The program included such interventions as personalized transition support, education, follow-up telephone calls and connections to community resources such as social workers.
The researchers compared their readmission rate to the same hospital within 30 days to a that of control group of adults older than 54 but who didn’t have Medicare fee-for-service insurance and who were seen as having a lower risk of readmissions.
The new intervention program only cut readmissions by 9 percent. “Our analysis revealed a fairly consistent and sustained but small, beneficial effect of the intervention on the target population as a whole,” the researchers wrote.
The study came after research last month in JAMA Internal Medicine that found hospitals could have prevented more than a quarter of readmissions of discharged Medicare patients within 30 days.
So at least part of the jury is out on how successful readmissions-reduction programs can be.