Maintaining patient health after a hospital stay...
RARE - Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively

Join the Campaign

Join the RARE Campaign and be part of its broad and growing base of stakeholders.

A Statewide Initiative

Individual hospitals and other care provider groups are doing impressive work to reduce avoidable readmissions. However, there continues to be the need to improve the quality and lower the cost of health care in our state. Since hospital readmissions are often the result of incomplete or ineffective communication between providers and a fragmented system, we believe that involving more care provider groups and collaborating statewide will achieve greater results faster than taking many individual approaches.

The Minnesota health care community is recognized for its willingness to collaborate, which makes such a broad campaign possible. Not only can we greatly improve people's health, but this initiative complements the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) work to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions at the national level.

Why Join?

The Right Thing to Do. Most of us have likely had a loved one—parent, spouse, child, or friend—who returned to the hospital soon after being discharged. We can identify with the anxiety, unrest, and burden felt by all of those involved when this occurs. Patients and their families would much prefer to remain in their homes and sleep peacefully in their own beds. We have a great opportunity to prevent avoidable readmissions and ensure our loved ones enjoy better health in their preferred surroundings.

Opportunity for Quality Improvement. Nearly one in five Medicare patients discharged from hospitals in Minnesota is readmitted within 30 days. Eighteen states had lower readmissions rates than Minnesota. (S Jencks, M Williams, E Coleman, N Engl J Med 2009; 360:1418- 1428 4/2/09)

Timing is Right. Readmissions is a key focus of CMS through its Quality Improvement Organizations; the Care Transition Project, which seeks to improve the patient's continuum of care from the hospital to home, skilled nursing care or home health care and reduce avoidable hospital readmissions; its Partnerships for Patients program; and the Community Based Care Transitions program. The initiative will support the federal initiative and position Minnesota as a national leader in health care.

Addressing Fragmentation. Hospital readmissions are the result of a fragmented health care system. Addressing this fragmentation across the care continuum will improve care delivery overall, and increase the hospital's value and stature in the community.

Costs. With the estimated average cost of a readmission ranging from $8,000 to $13,000 there is an opportunity to save tens of millions of dollars in Minnesota. (National Priorities Partnership Compact Action Brief, "Preventing Hospital Readmissions: A $25 Billion Opportunity.")

Penalties. Hospitals with higher than expected risk adjusted 30-day readmission performance can incur penalties up to 1% of their total inpatient Medicare payments beginning in fiscal year 2013 (i.e., starting October 1, 2012). The penalty increases each year after that. CMS will evaluate the prior year's readmissions data,which effectively started the clock ticking on October 1, 2011.

Health Reform. The Affordable Care Act creates a hospital readmissions reduction program to help hospitals smooth transitions for patients and reward hospitals that are successful in reducing avoidable readmissions. CMS is developing regulations that will be issued this year. (Source: Affordable Care Act Update: Implementing Medicare Cost Savings, 2011)

Medicare Payments. Medicare payments for avoidable readmissions can be saved in these tight economic times and used better to support other hospital services provided to Medicare patients.

Can be Done. Individual hospitals in Minnesota have already significantly reduced avoidable readmissions in the past year, one by as much as 30%. Hospitals with similar successes will help mentor other hospitals by sharing best practices.

Join the Campaign Now!

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RARE is a campaign lead by the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, the Minnesota Hospital Association, and Stratis Health, which represents Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network in Minnesota.