|Keystone State Providers, Insurers Join Initiative To Prevent Avoidable Episodes
More than 200 doctors, nurses and healthcare
professionals launched a collaborative effort to improve care
coordination, reduce hospital readmissions, control healthcare cost,
and improve the quality of health care as part of The Partnership for
Patient Care (PPC) "Preventing Avoidable Episodes" (PAVE) Project.
The initiative aims to reduce hospital readmission rates
by 10 percent over the 18-month project. PPC is a multi-year patient
safety and quality initiative facilitated by The Health Care
Improvement Foundation (HCIF) and supported and funded by Independence
Blue Cross (IBC) and southeastern Pennsylvania hospitals.
To assist in monitoring the readmission reduction
project’s progress, the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council (DVHC)
of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania is
beginning to track hospital readmission rates retroactive to January
"The last thing anyone who has recently been
hospitalized wants is to go back," said Dr. Victor Caraballo, senior
medical director for Quality Management at IBC. "The PAVE project will
help to improve patients’ recovery and keep them from avoidable
readmissions, and in doing so, will also address ways to lower costs,
since hospitalizations are among the most expensive aspects of health
IBC has contributed $4.3 million to the PPC since it
launched in 2006. It provided $750,000 to support a 2003 effort by DVHC
to improve medication safety at area hospitals, a model that became
nationally recognized for enhancing the quality of patient care.
PPC initially focused on the prevention of
hospital-acquired infections, but has since expanded to address other
quality issues such as preventing falls, reducing pressure ulcers,
enhancing how medications are monitored to prevent harmful drug
interactions and dosing errors, and raising awareness about the threat
of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
"The PAVE project will emphasize ways to improve care
coordination and communication between health professionals and
patients, which are some of the best ways to prevent avoidable hospital
readmissions," said Kate Flynn, president of HCIF. "The success of this
initiative is dependent upon everyone doing their part – doctors,
nurses, patients, families, as well as community caregivers – so
that people get the appropriate follow-up they need to stay well and
hopefully out of the hospital."
Three project workgroups are studying and will recommend
specific strategies for reducing readmissions. They will focus on the
- Improving communication among patients’ different caregivers;
- Using personal health records to ensure physicians,
home caregivers, and patients have full medical history so that
treatment is consistent and complete; and
- Improving medication management.
According to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost
Containment Council, in 2008 there were nearly 58,000 readmissions in
Pa. that cost $2.5 billion dollars.
Addresses: Independence Blue Cross, 1901 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1485, (215)241-2400, www.ibx.com. The Health Care Improvement Foundation, 1835 Market St., Suite 1050, Philadelphia, PA 19103; www.hcifonline.com. Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, 1835 Market Street, 10th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103, (215) 563-2229, www.dvhc.org.