EvergreenHealth has been an outstanding performer in maintaining low readmissions rates. EvergreenHealth has not had any penalties from the Affordable Care Act Readmission Reduction Program for six years in a row. They have maintained very low readmission rates for patients with all payers.
EvergreenHealth began their readmissions reduction effort in 2004, led by then Hospitalist Medical Director, Dr. Ettore Palazzo. Dr. Palazzo began by conducting retrospective chart audits of all 7-day readmissions for medical/surgical patients. This process allowed them to identify high risk patients and readmission trends. Service line readmission rates were calculated and provided to Department Head/Section Chief for review annually. Individual provider 7-day readmission rates were calculated and provided confidentially to physicians.
Once readmission trends were identified, targeted interventions were implemented and providers were given individual feedback on their performance. This led to a significant reduction in all-payer 7-day readmissions from 7.1% in 2004 to 4.9% in 2007.
EvergreenHealth has maintained this early success in reducing readmissions. Their 30-day Medicare readmissions rate for 2016 was 11.3%, which is well below the national average. Dr. Palazzo, currently in the role of Quality Medical Director, continues to review readmissions, looking for trends and providing feedback to individual providers. EvergreenHealth continues to make reducing readmissions a priority focus for their patients. They would like to move from a generalized/reactive approach for readmissions to a patient-specific/proactive approach. They are currently investigating predictive analytics and machine learning tools to achieve this in the future. (Jennifer Graves)