JCR Launches Reducing Readmissions Consulting Service

Joint Commission Resources (JCR) has spent the past three years working with more than 250 hospitals testing and developing discharge planning, patient education, and post discharge follow-up practices that keep patients satisfied and out of the hospital. Now JCR is harnessing its in-depth experience to launch a new Reducing Readmissions Consulting service. JCR is a not-for-profit affiliate of the Joint Commission.

Through an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) funded project, JCR recruited and assisted hospitals with the implementation of  Project RED (Re-Engineered Discharge). In Illinois, the 60 hospitals JCR worked with reduced their readmissions by as much as 18.67 percent for their targeted pilot population (most often congestive heart failure). 

JCR is also a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Partnership for Patients Hospital Engagement Network (HEN), working directly with 39 hospitals to identify best practices and solutions for reducing hospital acquired conditions and preventable readmissions.

Reducing readmissions is high priority for many hospitals because as of October 2012, CMS began penalizing hospitals for excessive avoidable readmissions, says Deborah Nadzam, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior consultant and project director, CMS Partnership for Patients Hospital Engagement Network, Joint Commission Resources. Penalties are part of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program created by the Affordable Care Act to reduce preventable readmissions and decrease Medicares expenditures.

The goal of The CMS Partnership for Patients campaign is to reduce unplanned readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013. Seven hospitals in the JCR HEN have already achieved a 20 percent reduction from their baseline rates in unplanned, 30-day all-cause readmissions.

Specific solutions that have enabled this reduction include:
 Daily discharge planning huddles with multidisciplinary teams
 Timely discharge communication and follow up appointments with the primary care provider
 Timely clinical based follow up patient phone calls
 Use of teachback methods to educate the patient at self-care while in the hospital
 Accuracy of medication reconciliation
 Coordination of care across departments and with post discharge care settings
JCRs new Reducing Readmissions Consulting service involves a combination of site visits and virtual consulting to assist healthcare organizations with making sustainable changes. Steps include defining needs, conducting a gap analysis, advising on best practices, identifying key risk points, educating staff, and measuring progress.

For more information, visit www.jcrinc.com/Reducing-Readmissions-Consulting/

Source: Joint Commission Resources (JCR)