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New Study Demonstrates Importance Of Oral Nutritional Supplements In Helping Hospitals Achieve Medicare Readmission Reduction Requirements

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Oct. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- (NYSE: ABT) – In the U.S., one in five Medicare patients is readmitted to a hospital each year at an estimated cost of $17.5 billion annually. i To reduce this impact, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has introduced hospital penalties based on readmissions conditions that commonly affect patients aged 65 and older – including acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. i

A new study conducted by leading researchers at the University of Southern California, Stanford University, The Harris School at The University of Chicago and Precision Health Economics, and supported by Abbott, found that the use of oral nutritional supplements decreased the probability of 30-day hospital readmission, length of stay and costs among hospitalized Medicare patients aged 65 and over.  

The study, to be presented this weekend at the 35th annual meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) in Baltimore, demonstrated that oral nutritional supplements were associated with a decreased probability of 30-day readmission among Medicare patients aged 65 and over who could be tracked for readmission, with:
  • 8.4 percent reduction for patients with any diagnosis
  • 10.1 percent reduction for congestive heart failure patients
  • 12.0 percent reduction for acute myocardial infarction patients

Oral nutritional supplements are dietary food, often in liquid form, that provide calories, protein and nutrients for added nutrition and energy in the diet.

Readmission Penalties

Starting this month, the ACA's current penalty of one percent doubles for hospitals whose number of readmitted patients, within 30 days, goes above the national average specifically for those conditions. Federal data estimates $227 million in fines will be levied by Medicare this year against 2,225 hospitals. ii

In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is looking at expanding readmission penalties to include other diagnoses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and knee and hip replacements.

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