Living Well

Fewer Readmissions Mean Lower Health Care Costs

Last updated: Jul 25, 2012

With health care costs always on the rise, thought leaders at Summit Medical Group carefully consider how best to continue delivering the highest standard of care to each of its patients while reducing or stabilizing health care costs.

Summit Medical Group Chief Medical Officer Robert W. Brenner, MD, MMM, says, “The Group is focused on lowering the cost of care with interventions that improve patient care and reduce hospital readmissions. Because our approach capitalizes on prevention,” says Dr. Brenner, “it has the best chance of optimizing patient care and preempting the need for hospital readmissions.”

To help reduce the number of readmissions, our nurse practitioners and physician assistants:

  • Ensure that each patient understands his or her discharge instructions
  • Reconcile medications with our electronic health record to preempt mistakes and potential adverse drug interactions
  • Communicate with the patient’s primary care physician to ensure that he or she has updates on the patient’s health status as well as changes in his or her care
  • Arrange for follow up care to help patients comply with their treatment and so that practitioners can address any health issues that arise in the early stages before they require hospitalization

Dr. Brenner adds, “We also created a score card to track readmissions among our patients so that we can identify and find solutions for areas needing improvement.”

“Since 2009, our 30-day readmission rate has dropped steadily as a result of our actions,” says Medical Director of Quality Healthcare Services Avrim Eden, MD, MBA. Dr. Eden adds, “Our Medicare readmission rate is now approximately two thirds lower (at 7.2%) than the New Jersey state benchmark (almost 22%),1 and our overall readmission rates compare favorably with all other regional readmission rates as well.”2

Dr. Brenner emphasizes, “By helping avoid problems that can lead to hospitalizations, effective care can save Medicare and taxpayers large sums. In addition to our commitment to finding solutions for patient care and health care costs for our patients, Summit Medical Group has become a role model in progressive approaches to support accountable, affordable care.”

1. Medicare 30-day Readmission Rate. NEJM. 2009; 360:1428-1428.
2. Commercial 30-day Readmission Rate. CIGNA Collaborative Accountable Care Report. May 2012.