UnitedHealthcare and Colorado Hospital Association Work Together on Innovative Program to Reduce Avoidable Hospital Readmissions

August 24, 2011
  • UnitedHealthcare provides $1.1 million grant to help hospitals reduce avoidable readmissions, enhance patient care and streamline operations

UnitedHealthcare today announced a $1.1 million grant to the Colorado Hospital Association to help hospitals statewide implement a proven, evidence-based program to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions.

The grant supports the Reducing Hospital Readmissions and Safe Transitions Collaborative, a two-year initiative to help participating hospitals implement a patient-centered process for discharge planning and discharge education. Up to 20 participating Colorado hospitals will receive funding, individual coaching and technical assistance during the course of the two-year grant. A total of 16 hospitals have enrolled thus far, with additional facilities expected to be added in coming weeks.  

The grant will help each hospital provide or enhance discharge-related activities, such as individual patient coaching and software upgrades. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to help reduce avoidable readmissions and improve care coordination for patients after they leave the hospital.

“This work will result in significant improvements for Colorado residents and drive significant cost savings for both patients and providers,” said Steven Summer, president and CEO, the Colorado Hospital Association. “Through this innovative collaboration, UnitedHealthcare, Colorado Hospital Association and the participating member hospitals are taking an important step toward reducing avoidable readmissions and, ultimately, improving the quality of life for scores of Colorado residents.”

An estimated 20 percent of patients have complications or an adverse event after being discharged from the hospital, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Avoidable readmissions, which are often due to a lack of patient knowledge regarding their follow-up care, cost the health system more than $30.8 billion annually, according to the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research.  

“We are collaborating with Colorado Hospital Association to help solve an important problem that affects all Colorado residents. During this time of challenge for health care in America, it is important that the major institutions work together for the public to address compelling social priorities,” said Christopher Stanley, M.D., senior medical director, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual of Colorado. “The participating facilities are among the finest health care providers in the state, and their involvement with this initiative demonstrates their commitment and vision to further improving the quality of care available to patients in Colorado.”

Participating hospitals will implement 11 steps developed at Boston University School of Medicine that have been shown to improve the discharge process and decrease avoidable readmissions. These steps have demonstrated significant results in reducing unnecessary hospital utilization.

A 2009 Annals of Internal Medicine study on the Boston University program found that patients who have a clear understanding of their after-hospital care instructions— including how to take prescribed medication and when to make follow-up appointments with their doctors—are 30 percent less likely to be readmitted or visit the emergency department than patients who lack this information.

The hospitals receiving the grant are as follows:

  • Avista Adventist Hospital (Louisville)
  • Conejos County Hospital (La Jara)
  • Denver Health (Denver)
  • Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center (Lafayette)
  • Littleton Adventist Hospital (Littleton)
  • Longmont United Hospital (Longmont)
  • Medical Center of Aurora (Aurora)
  • Melissa Memorial Hospital (Holyoke)
  • Platte Valley Medical Center (Brighton)
  • Porter Adventist Hospital (Denver)
  • Rio Grande Hospital (Del Norte)
  • Sedgwick County Health Center (Julesburg)
  • San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center (Alamosa)
  • St. Anthony North Hospital (Westminster)
  • St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center (Pueblo)
  • Yuma District Hospital (Yuma)

About Colorado Hospital Association
The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) represents 95 member hospitals and health systems throughout Colorado. CHA partners with its members to work towards health reform and performance improvement, and provides advocacy and representation at the state and federal level. Colorado hospitals and health systems are committed to providing coverage and access to safe, high-quality and affordable healthcare. In addition, Colorado hospitals have a tremendous impact on the state’s economic stability and growth, contributing to nearly every community across the state with more than 71,000 employees statewide. For more information, visit www.cha.com.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.   

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