Preventable Hospital Readmission Initiative

Preventable hospital readmissions are dangerous to patients, are costly, and reflect poor quality of care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has challenged hospitals across the country to reduce preventable readmissions by 20 percent. Although hospitals throughout the greater New York area are engaged in a range of activities to prevent readmissions, hospital staffs have expressed a need for resources and support to help them conduct robust efforts to analyze the extent of the problem and implement strategies to reduce readmissions. To address this need and stimulate further action, the United Hospital Fund has launched the Preventable Hospital Readmission Initiative.

In the initiative's first phase, the Fund awarded $20,000 grants to seven hospitals to enable them to study specific groups of readmitted patients through chart reviews, interviews with patients and their family caregivers, and structured discussions with community-based physicians. Staff from the Fund and the Greater New York Hospital Association developed a standardized interview template for use with patients and their family caregivers as well as a chart abstraction tool.

In the project’s second phase, four hospitals—Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York Methodist Hospital, St. Barnabas Hospital, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center—each received a $50,000 grant to implement specific interventions, shaped by information gained during the project's first phase, for their target populations. Each hospital’s approach varies but generally includes common themes: education for patients and family caregivers during hospitalization, discharge preparation and instructions for follow-up care, tracking of post-hospital appointments with community-based physicians, medication management (with special emphasis on high-risk medications), and communication and transfer of information (including through health information technology) to community-based physicians about their patients’ recent admissions.

Project Contact:  Hillary Jalon