In 2014, nearly 18% of Medicare patients who were hospitalized were readmitted within a month, costing an estimated $26 billion, with $17 billion coming from potentially avoidable readmissions. For Minnesota, the impact has hit 27% of the hospitals with 36 being penalized for high readmission rates. There remain large-scale opportunities for further reductions and cost savings.
While Minnesota has had better than national averages on admissions rates, and has an impressive achievement of reducing readmission rates across the state by 19%, Lifesprk’s whole person senior care model is delivering even greater measured outcomes with a 73% reduction in hospitalizations and 52% reduction in ER visits for community clients.
In the August issue of Minnesota Physicians, Lifesprk CEO Joel Theisen, RN, attributes the role of a Life Care Manager (registered nurse) as a key factor in how Lifesprk has been able to reduce and measure readmission rates for our clients. Joel explained that “seniors experience other life challenges beyond physical ones. When left unchecked, these issues can lead to frequent ER visits and hospitalizations. It isn’t just a ‘health care’ issue – it is a life issue.”
Dr. David Moen, Principal Consultant for MoenMDConsulting, explains “the best way to avoid over-using the ER (emergency room) and hospital is to create accessible and capable teams that build relationships with clients and families over time in the community where they live.” As an emergency physician, he saw how there were many solutions for acute problems but much less for those with chronic and complex health and social problems. “The ‘easy’ button,” according to Dr. Moen, “was often the ‘admit’ button, and that wasn’t the best button!” Lifesprk’s goal of preventing re-hospitalizations stemmed from this very issue – people need better care, not just more care. And the key to helping people making good decisions about their options for better care lies in the data.
Lifesprk’s measurable outcomes are important indicators that prove when a patient goes home, they stay home. People need quality care but they also need access to things that give them purpose – the piece that makes them human and a contributor to their community – addressing the ‘life issue’ that Joel points out. “What’s more,” Joel added, “by reducing the health care crises people face, they are able to re-focus that energy on what is most important in their lives – their spark.” And fewer hospital visits and re-admissions translate into significantly lower, long-term costs for patients, facilities, and the healthcare system.
Bottom-line, outcomes matter, as more families and professionals are looking for proven data to help them make decisions about the options that will be best for them.
We want to know – what kind of outcomes do you want for your clients? How does measuring outcomes affect decision making? Join the conversation and share your thoughts.