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Amedisys Chief Medical Officer, Michael Fleming, MD, FAAFP Urges The Medical Community To Focus On Collaborative Care With Post-acute Providers To Reduce Avoidable Readmissions

Michael Fleming, MD, FAAFP and chief medical officer for Amedisys Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED), a national leader in health care at home, responded today to the Wall Street Journal article “Return Patients Vex Hospitals,” the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA) studies on reducing avoidable readmissions, and Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D.’s Perspective piece in the January 10, 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, “Post-Hospital Syndrome – An Acquired, Transient Condition of Generalized Risk.”

The Wall Street Journal article highlights the one percent financial penalty the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has initiated for hospitals that have higher-than-predicted rates of readmissions for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia patients. It also noted several studies published in the online version of JAMA, which suggest that poor coordination among different providers after patients leave the hospital is largely to blame for many readmissions, and the focus should be on improving that care.

The New England Journal of Medicine article highlights challenges of recovering after a hospital stay, not from the patient’s initial diagnosis, but also from the general risk of adverse health events and physiological stress patients experience in a hospital. Krumholz cites specific stressors such as lack of sleep, disruption of circadian rhythms, changes to their diet, pain, discomfort and mentally challenging situations that result in “post-hospital syndrome.” He urges the medical community to recognize the issue and focus on interventions to promote recovery early in the recovery period that may reduce the period of vulnerability. Ultimately, he calls for “…expanded efforts to reduce readmissions during this high-risk period, making hospitalization less toxic and promoting the safe passage of patients from acute care settings.”

Amedisys recommends hospitals seeking to reduce avoidable readmissions look at a comprehensive care transitions program as well as other mission-critical interventions including:

  • RN visit within 24 hours of patient discharge from the hospital
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Medication therapy management
  • Real-time information exchange through electronic medical records across the care continuum
  • Telemonitoring / telehealth for certain conditions
  • Pre-determined transfer and care plan protocols

“Dr. Krumholz and researchers at JAMA have made poignant observations at a critical time for our nation’s health care system. There is clearly a changing paradigm of healthcare needs in the U.S. - managing chronic disease instead of treating acute episodes; and the fact that our healthcare system is not designed to meet these needs,” says Michael Fleming, MD, FAAFP and Chief Medical Officer for Amedisys.

“We at Amedisys believe strongly that collaboration with post-acute care partners including implementation of effective care transitions of patients from acute care settings back home can help patients manage post-hospital syndrome as well as the on-going management of their condition, especially if it involves a chronic disease. In fact, at Amedisys we have delivered strong results in this arena. For example, for one hospital partner we have helped reduce its heart failure readmission rate by 13 percent in one year by implementing several essential health care at home interventions and because they leveraged our care team as an integrated care partner,” Fleming concluded.

To be directed to the Wall Street Journal article, please click here.

To access the JAMA studies, please click here.

To read Dr. Krumholz’s Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, please click here.

To view a case study on how Amedisys helped one of our hospital partners reduce its heart failure readmission rate, please click here.

To learn more about Amedisys’ Care Transitions program, please download our free Care Transitions Guide: click here.

About Amedisys:

Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) is a leading health care at home company delivering personalized home health and hospice care to more than 360,000 patients each year. Amedisys is focused on delivering the care that is best for our patients, whether that is home-based recovery and rehabilitation after an operation or injury, care focused on empowering them to manage a chronic disease, palliative care for those with a terminal illness, or hospice care at the end of life. The Company's state-of-the-art advanced chronic care management programs and leading-edge technology enables it to deliver quality care based upon the latest evidence-based best practices. Amedisys is a recognized innovator, being one of the first in the industry to equip its clinicians with point-of-care laptop technology and referring physicians with an internet portal that enables real-time coordination of patient care seamlessly. Amedisys also has the industry’s first-ever nationwide Care Transitions program, designed to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions through patient and caregiver health coaching and care coordination, which starts in the hospital and continues throughout completion of the patient's home health plan of care. For more information about the Company, please visit: http://www.amedisys.com.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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