Make it happen


I feel like we’ve heard a lot of HME providers talking about the important role that they play in helping to reduce hospital readmission rates, and I feel like we’ve seen some providers walking the talk, too.

Take Alana HealthCare. In the HME Newswire a couple of weeks ago, Managing Editor Theresa Flaherty wrote about how this provider has reduced readmission rates for stage IV COPD patients with respiratory failure between 40% and 73%. That’s pretty impressive.

We’ve also written about efforts by Landauer Metropolitan, AmeriCare, ContinuCare HealthServices, Klingensmith Healthcare and others.

So I didn’t think it was too much of a leap, when we asked readers this week as part of our most recent NewsPoll: 1.) do you serve patients with chronic conditions; and 2.) if so, do you keep track of 30-day hospital readmission rates?

We knew this wouldn’t be the type of poll that would get hundreds of responses because, even though we’ve heard a lot of talking and seen some walking, we realize this is still an emerging role for most providers.

But I’m still surprised that the results of the poll show that, while 97% of respondents serve patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and COPD, only 25% track readmission rates.

(Granted, only 33 readers have taken the poll so far—re-read fifth paragraph).

Now I realize this question is a little more complicated than it seems. As one provider pointed out to me on twitter in 140 characters or less: “Process/data visibility not there to do it efficiently, UNLESS you partner with integrated system with ACO-like model that will share data.”

He has a point. Some of the providers above, like ContinuCare HealthServices, are owned by hospitals or health systems, which makes these efforts much, much easier.

But providers that aren’t owned by hospitals or health systems are making it happen, too, by forging new partnerships with hospitals and health systems centered around this new role.

Take Klingensmith. In a story about its disease management program, President Dave Knepshield told us: “We went to hospitals and the first five CEOs we showed said, ‘Oh my God. This is incredible.’”

One respondent to the poll said: “We created our own assessment software and database to develop risk scores and define performance improvement goals. We’re able to market the program directly to payers.”

That’s what I’m talking about. This isn’t the kind of role that’s just going to happen to providers. You have to make it happen.