VIDEO: Eskenazi Targets Readmissions

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Eskenazi doctor Kevin Tolliver assists patient at Transitional Care Clinic. Eskenazi doctor Kevin Tolliver assists patient at Transitional Care Clinic.

An Indianapolis hospital says a new approach to transitional care is paying off. Eskenazi Health opened its Transitional Care Clinic to help bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient care. Eskenazi's Dr. Kevin Tolliver says the model has cut readmission rates in half. He says the clinic boosts quality of care and can significantly cut costs for patients.

"The main measure that we've looked at is the 30-day readmission rate. Compared to this time about a year ago, to here recently, we've been able to cut our readmission rate in half," says Tolliver. "We're now in the six to eight percent range of 30-day readmission, where as a year ago, it was maybe in the 16-18 percent range of 30-day readmission. That is a really significant decrease in and of itself. But when you also consider how much cost is involved with a standard hospitalization, not even necessarily for the hospital side, but the patient side."

Eskenazi says readmission is a challenge for hospitals throughout the United States. It cites published data suggesting as many as one in five Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days of being discharged from a hospital, with six percent being readmitted within a week. The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care estimates readmissions cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $12 billion to $44 billion annually.

"If you look at the literature, there are a few health systems throughout the country that have tried it," says Tolliver. "The ones that have tried something similar, the early data shows that it is effective. It's certainly not commonplace. But I really do think that over the next few years you'll begin to see more innovative, kind of outside the box thinking about what we can do to address this readmission problem."

The center continues the growth of Eskenazi's footprint in Indianapolis. In October, the system announced the Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation, named in honor of a $5 million leadership gift from Sandra Eskenazi, the daughter of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi.

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