Oklahoma hospitals work to lower readmission rates, improve care

In Oklahoma, efforts to reduce 30-day readmissions in the last two years have prevented more than 3,000 readmissions to Oklahoma hospitals, which translates to about $29 million in cost savings to Medicare, according to estimates from the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: February 24, 2013
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Rikki Moye isn't someone who chose nursing as a second or third career.

She wanted to be a nurse from the time she could talk, and for the past 33 years, that's what she's done.

About 10 months ago, the South Carolina native moved to Oklahoma to work at Midwest Regional Medical Center as the “director of resource management.”

Moye's title might not immediately convey what she does, but she is part of a movement affront in health care that's changing how patients receive care before and after they leave the hospital.

“It's an entirely different kind of nursing,” Moye said. “As a nurse on a floor, I can take care of a patient until the end of my shift. As a resource manager, I can take care of a patient long after they leave the hospital doors.”

Moye is in charge of Midwest Regional's efforts to reduce the number of patients who return to the hospital soon after they're discharged.

She said thanks to these efforts, Midwest Regional has seen a reduction in its readmission rate from about 24 percent to 18 percent in the past six months.

“Those statistics translate to me as souls,” she said. “Those are patients out there, and ... if a patient is being readmitted, that's telling me something is wrong.”

In Oklahoma, efforts to reduce 30-day readmissions in the last two years have prevented more than 3,000 readmissions to Oklahoma hospitals, which translates to about $29 million in cost savings to Medicare, according to estimates from the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality.

These efforts relate to a provision in the federal health care law that penalizes hospitals if their readmission rates are too high.

Under the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” if the federal government deems a hospital's readmission rates too high — meaning these patients are coming in too soon after they've been discharged from the hospital — that hospital can lose some of its Medicare money.

Beginning this year, hospitals receive a payment reduction if they have too many 30-day readmissions for patients with heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, according to U.S. Health and Human Services.

This law changed has resulted in more than 2,000 hospitals in the U.S. forfeiting more than $280 million because of their readmission rates, according to Kaiser Health News.

Hospital payments account for the largest share of Medicare spending, and Medicare is the largest single payer for hospital services, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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