A new public-private program called the "Partnership for Patients" has been funded with $1 billion to improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for all Americans. This includes reducing the number of hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries within 30 days of a hospital discharge. By the end of 2013, the program hopes that preventable complications during transition from one care setting to another will bring down readmissions by 20 percent, compared to 2010.
Many people are at risk when they are discharged from the hospital, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). When people move from one care setting to another (from hospital to home or nursing home, for example) they are vulnerable to errors. For people living with serious and complex illnesses, these transitions can be particularly risky. For example, one in five patients discharged from the hospital to home experience an adverse event within three weeks of discharge, when an adverse event is defined as an injury resulting from medical management rather than the underlying disease.
The most common adverse events are medication-related; they often can be avoided or mitigated. The rate for hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries within 30 days of discharge, one indicator of the appropriateness of the transition process, is 20 percent, contributing to lower patient satisfaction and rising health care costs,” according to the HHS website.
In addition to reducing hospital readmissions, the Partnership for Patients and its over 3,700 participating hospitals are working to decrease preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent at the end of 2013, compared to 2010.
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