From the Wires
Cox Medical Center Branson Uses T-System's Care Continuity to Reduce Readmissions
Patient Transition Management Solution Will Help Hospital Reach Goal of Lowering Readmissions by 20 Percent to Improve Patient Care
By: Marketwire .
Feb. 5, 2013 08:35 AM
DALLAS, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 02/05/13 -- Cox Medical Center Branson completed activation of T-System's PerformNext Care Continuity web-based solution in its hospital and provider clinics to facilitate patient transitions and improve communication and access to clinical data. The facility has set a goal to reduce avoidable readmissions by 20 percent with the primary intention to improve their patients' safety, satisfaction, experience and outcomes.
The 165 licensed bed hospital in Southwest Missouri services a three-county area with a high rate of Medicaid and self-pay patients. As explained in a recent article, research consistently shows that Medicaid patients tend to be significantly sicker than privately insured patients, potentially leading to a higher readmission rate if the continuation of critical follow-up care ceases to happen.
The patient transition management tool connects Cox Medical Center Branson to area provider clinics and actively manages the patient transition workflow and communication processes. It helps ensure discharged patients including those deemed high risk with serious medical conditions receive appropriate aftercare.
"Our goal is to use T-System's Care Continuity to lower patient readmissions and to reduce the use of our ED as a primary care provider by rerouting them to our clinics," said Michael Elley, chief information officer and vice president of Support Services, Cox Medical Center Branson. "It's cost effective for us to coordinate their treatment in a clinic setting, and it's better for the patients themselves to receive follow-up care sooner than later and before their illness worsens to the point of having to return to the ED."
Like all U.S. hospitals and health systems, Cox Medical Center Branson faces a 1 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement if it exceeds the 30-day readmission levels set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS plans to increase those penalties by 1 percent in October and another 1 percent in October 2014 plus raise the number of covered conditions to eight.
A study released in the Jan. 23rd issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlighted the importance of care coordination in reducing costly readmission rates. Researchers found communities that leveraged community-based transitioned care markedly reduced hospitalizations and rehospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries than in comparison communities.
While Cox Medical Center Branson's 2012 annual average readmission rate was 9.65 percent, the state average for Missouri is currently 11.5 percent. T-System's patient transition management system automatically flags patients at high risk for readmission to ensure follow-up care is scheduled. Participating practices receive alerts for patient status changes or when follow-up care is required. Patients without a medical home are easily matched to appropriate providers in a fully closed-loop process.
Cox Medical Center Branson introduced T-System's Care Continuity to 19 of their specialty and primary care physician clinics. In the coming weeks, the hospital plans to extend the solution to nearby independent groups to improve physician alignment and enhance patient care community-wide.
"We commend Cox Medical Center Branson for being among the first hospitals in the country to tackle this issue," said Sunny Sanyal, T-System chief executive officer. "Not only can they avoid CMS penalties and reduce the cost of care, they can improve access to healthcare and create better patient outcomes for the entire Branson community."
About Cox Medical Center Branson
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