The Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) and the Ohio Health Care Coverage and Quality Council (HCCQC) and have joined forces with the State Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations (STAAR) Initiative in Ohio, aimed at reducing costly avoidable hospital readmissions by improving patient care and the transition from hospital care to home.
“The STAAR initiative fulfills the HCCQC’s goal of using partnerships to identify and implement strategies to improve the health care delivery system,” said Mary Jo Hudson, HCCQC Chair and Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “I appreciate the involvement of the Ohio Hospital Association, participating hospitals, and other partners, and I’m confident this work will result in systemic change that reduces hospital readmissions and enhances the quality of care.”
A total of 19 hospitals across the state have been selected by a team of HCCQC members, state agency leaders and the Ohio Hospital Association’s (OHA) Quality Institute to participate in the pilot project, which runs from September 2010 to June 2011. After the pilot, STAAR will be expanded to hospitals statewide. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) will provide training and technical assistance to the hospitals. Robert L. Hunter, DO, will represent the Ohio Osteopathic Association on the STAAR Advisory Committee.
Ohio hospitals are targeting patient care transitions — the process of moving a patient from the hospital setting to home care or another health care setting — with enhanced patient communication and timely follow-up after hospital discharge. Specifically, the project focuses on unplanned, related “rehospitalizations,” which are hospital readmissions that are not expected/scheduled, but whose reasons are clinically related to an initial admission. Whilereadmissions generally refer to patients being readmitted to hospitals in which they originally received care,rehospitalizations refer to patients being readmitted to any hospital, regardless if it is the facility in which they originally received their care.
Rehospitalizations account for 18 percent of all Medicare hospitalizations and $15 billion in annual Medicare spending each year.
“Hospital readmissions are costly to the patient, hospital and insurance providers,” said David Engler, OHA vice president, Quality Institute. “The STAAR project will allow OHA’s Quality Institute to continue its work to bolster quality and patient safety in Ohio’s hospitals.”
To address some of the major systemic challenges in improving care transitions and reducing hospitalization readmissions, IHI will provide targeted technical assistance in population and provider-based measurement, aiming for a uniform measurement strategy for hospital readmissions; policy and payment frameworks to make it easier to deliver optimal care and to resolve barriers to improvement; financial analysis to provide a better understanding of the impact of reduced readmissions; and community and cross-boundary coordination among providers and settings of care.
IHI will support the improvement work in hospitals by creating a robust learning community across the states, hospitals, and teams working on these process changes. IHI will provide content reviews, process recommendations, inventory and celebration of best practices, and suggested measurement strategies.
The hospitals in this initiative include: