Nearly 15 percent of all initial hospital stays in New York resulted in a readmission, Gannett’s Aaron Scholder reports.
New York State is losing billions of dollars per year as a result of hospital readmissions, according to the report by the New York State Health Foundation. It was based on 2008 data, the most recent available. Those stays end up costing the state an estimated $3.7 billion per year, which accounts for 16 percent of total hospital costs in New York.
The problems aren’t limited to one region of the state either, as nearly every part of New York recorded readmission rates of at least 13 percent, the report from the
AlbanyManhattan-based, private health-care foundation found. Statewide, there were 273,575 readmissions in 2008.
“The real finding is that it’s not an isolated problem. There’s not great variation where it’s ‘Oh, this is the problem here.’ It’s consistent across the state in virtually every region,” said David Sandman, senior vice president at the Health Foundation.
The foundation outlined the need to reward hospitals if they are able to lower readmissions that are typically funded through private insurance or Medicare. Medicare, which provides health insurance for seniors, funded about 60 percent of all readmission costs in the state.
The incentives recommended by the foundation include a pair of approaches to give hospitals, which currently make a profit for readmitting patients back into their facilities, a way to make money instead from successful care.
“I think from a payment perspective it requires a combination of both carrots and sticks,” Sandman said. “We want to reward the hospitals who do well and we want to punish the hospitals who have unacceptably high rates of readmissions.”
Updated: According to the study, the highest number of readmissions resulted from infections or complications from their initial hospital stays. That fact highlights the need for greater preventative care at hospitals and better follow-up communication with patients, some officials said.
“There are lots of factors,” said William Van Slyke, a spokesman for the Healthcare Association of New York State. “Better coordinated care, better decision making by the providers certainly, providing care after discharge. However, it’s hard to do that when home healthcare services have been cut to the bone.”
Here’s the report: