Stopping the Heart Failure Patient Bounce-Back

Ileana L. Piña, MD, MPH


August 22, 2013

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Reducing the 30-Day Readmission Rate

Hello. I'm Ileana Piña, Associate Chief of Cardiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. This is my blog.

We have discussed many times the 30-day readmission rate for heart failure. It has become much more important to many hospitals that are seeking to improve their quality, because now there are penalties. The penalties started in October 2012, and they will increase by 1% in 2013 and by another percent in 2014. It is unusual for me to not get calls from multiple hospitals all over the country about how they can reduce their 30-day readmission rate.

I always tell hospitals that they need to know themselves first. One strategy may not work across the board; every center has to find its own system. How do we do this? I am here in Amelia Island, Florida, where every year for the past 12-13 years we have had a heart failure symposium. This year, it is sponsored by the University of Florida. Kirkwood Adams from the University of North Carolina has been a real driver at getting us to sit down at the table and talk about these very difficult issues.

On Sunday, I will be talking about the 30-day readmission rate and some strategies that require thinking outside of the box. We can't do business the way we've been doing business anymore. It's time that we use newer strategies and be innovative to reduce this 30-day readmission rate. I want to remind my audience that not all readmissions are preventable. There are groups of patients who are ill and will be coming back in, and perhaps advanced directives or even hospice care may be appropriate for those patients.


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