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09/13/2011

People don't want to go back to the hospital, but nearly 20% do. For COPD patients, its 22.6%. Providers are well positioned to help turn this statistic around, says Dr. Greg Spratt, homecare chair of the AARC.

Patients need follow-up in the home. Do they understand how to use their meds? Their equipment? Can they afford them? Those are important questions. Need proof? Here's an example. Studies show that up to 80% of patients can't use their inhalers properly. That's right, their inhalers.

Who better than HME providers to ensure patients learn how to care for themselves upon charge? With hospitals facing penalties for for certain re-admissions, starting in 2012, they are going to be looking for HME providers that can help them in this quest.

The AARC has developed a Hospital to Home Program. The first step: Surveying hospital and home-based RTs.

Some survey results: 99% of hospitals are aware of the Medicare change.

Only 63% of hospitals place follow up calls to patients upon discharge.
Only 12% partner with an HME provider.
In 29% of hospitals, RTs arrange RT/HME needs; 83% of the time, it is a case manager/discharge planner.

Reasons for readmission:

94% of RTs believe non-compliance with medication
81% of RTS believe non-compliance with oxygen

"Those are linked to patient education," says Spratt. "That's something you guys are involved in."

The takeaway for HME providers today: Talk with hospital RTs and discharge planners, discuss how you can work with them on reducing re-admissions. What opportunities are there for reimb

"The thought that we could ever get reimbursed for something new is mind-boggling," said Spratt. "We are so used to getting reduced. But DMEs must be considered in this."

Theresa Flaherty

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