Reducing Hospitalizations and Cutting Costs in Nursing Homes

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<p>A new <em>Health Affairs</em> study finds that better prevention and treatment of common ambulatory conditions, like pneumonia, in nursing homes could reduce avoidable hospitalizations for residents while saving Medicare and other public programs money.<br><br>In <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=30586&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D575198%26%23doc575198">The Costs and Potential Savings Associated with Nursing Home Hospitalizations,</a> Commonwealth Fund-supported researchers report that inflation-adjusted spending on nursing home hospitalizations rose 29 percent from 1999 through 2004, with aggregate spending totaling $972 million by 2004. Nearly one-quarter of these costs were for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, including pneumonia, kidney or urinary tract infections, and congestive heart failure.<br><br>Of the more than 122,000 nursing home hospitalizations for 14 ambulatory care-sensitive conditions over the five-year period, nearly one-third were found to be potentially avoidable. Such hospitalizations accounted for $1.24 billion in spending (in 2004 dollars).<br><br>"The high concentration of spending in relatively few conditions suggests that targeted prevention and treatment interventions in nursing homes could be particularly fruitful," said Harvard Medical School's David Grabowski, Ph.D., the study's lead author.<br><br><table border="0"><tr><td align="left" valign="top">Also read about these other Fund-supported studies on nursing home care:</td></tr><tr><td><ul><li><a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=30585&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D575215%26%23doc575215">Consequences of Empowered CNA Teams in Nursing Home Settings: A Longitudinal Assessment</a>. Writing in <em>The Gerontologist,</em> Dale Yeatts, Ph.D., and Cynthia M. Cready, Ph.D., of the University of North Texas, report that nursing homes that empower frontline workers to make decisions regarding patient care achieve improved worker performance and better resident care.</li></ul></td></tr><tr><td><ul><li><a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=30584&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D575233%26%23doc575233">Where Should Momma Go? Current Nursing Home Performance Measurement Strategies and a Less Ambitious Approach</a>. According to this study in <em>BMC Health Services Research,</em> nursing home ranking systems relying solely on quantitative measures may not provide the best information for families. Authors Charles D. Phillips, Ph.D., Catherine Hawes, Ph.D., Trudy Lieberman, and The Commonwealth Fund's Mary Jane Koren, M.D., recommend an alternative approach using multiple dimensions of quality over time.</li></ul></td></tr></table></p>