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December 2012

Stopping the Hospital’s Revolving Door

No one wants to see patients return to the hospital after being discharged, least of all the patient. And yet, nationwide, one-fifth of those who got the green light to go home were readmitted within a month. Poor discharge planning is bad for the patient and preventable readmissions cost taxpayers $17 billion last year in Medicare and Medicaid spending. And who are the patients who get readmitted the most? Those with heart disease.

“If heart patients don’t have the right mix of services and information to support their recovery at home, high blood pressure, palpitations, or shortness of breath can put them back in the hospital,” says Irfan Hasan, program officer at The Trust.

To reverse this trend, The Trust has made $50,000 grants to four hospitals: Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York Methodist Hospital, St. Barnabas Hospital, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. These grants match an effort started last year by the United Hospital Fund to figure out why heart patients were not coping well at home and how hospital staff could help them do better.The hospitals will equip patients with the education, services, and guidance to take care of their hearts at home. The graphic (below) gives the details.

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