Healthcare Week in Review: Hospital Trends, Suggestions for Reducing Readmissions

Monday, April 22nd, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Physicians have them; so do nurses, and even teachers. So why not case managers?

Aides, or extenders, could be one of several new key trends for case managers, says case manager Teri Treiger. Because they are often faced with large amounts of administrative work in addition to clinical assignments, aides can help take care of details and allow case managers to be much more efficient.

Efficiency and collaboration could help the widespread number of preventable hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries, according to researchers at Penn State, the Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of Pennsylvania. But it will take time, more time than many healthcare professionals originally anticipated, time that is costing the nation nearly $18 billion annually, because of the lack of collaborative relationships among providers in different care settings, researchers say.

A majority of hospitals are in agreement that ACOs are key to remaining competitive. According to a new study from L.E.K. Consulting, over 80 percent of surveyed hospitals are making future plans to join or are already participating in an ACO.

Hospital executives also intend to invest significantly on information technology (IT) and facilities over the next five years in order to stay ahead, researchers found. Hospitals are investing in mechanisms that will help them improve quality metrics and outcomes and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, researchers note. Researchers also found that there will be major changes in purchasing dynamics, as we detail in our story here.

Nearly half of adult residents living in the metropolitan Texas area are uninsured, making it the highest area of uninsured adults in the metro United States for the second year in a row, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

This is nearly three times the national average of 16.9 percent; a percentage which has remained the same since 2011, but jumped by two percent in 2008. Metropolitan areas in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire had the lowest uninsured rates. Geographically, these rates haven’t changed; and demographically, one group in particular, Hispanics, remains uninsured.

Researchers expect these figures to change, however, as healthcare reforms take effect.

And lastly, young adults under 26 insured on their parents’ health insurance plans due to federal mandate are more likely to be treated for depression, substance abuse and pregnancy, according to new research from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). This report is the first to identify the major treatments the coverage is used for, researchers note.

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