After Success of Winston-Salem Pilot Program, Government Taps Right at Home for Help Lowering Readmissions
With one in five Medicare patients returning to the hospital within 30 days of release, the U.S. government has implemented a financial penalty in an effort to reduce the staggering number of readmissions and curb the $17 billion annual cost associated with preventable readmissions. In search of solutions, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMS) developed the Community Based Care Transitions Program (CCTP), which provides funding for different models that aim to reduce hospital readmissions. As part of their efforts, the Community Care Networks of North Carolina received funding for two programs from CMS where they exclusively contracted three Right at Home offices to run a transitional program.
Right at Home’s care transitions initiative is referred to as RightTransitions. Originally developed by Right at Home of Greensboro franchisee, Greg Brewer, and is now rolled out throughout the Right at Home system, RightTransitions is a program that partners with hospitals to create personalized plans that help outgoing patients complete the transition from hospital to home. The Center for Technology and Aging estimates that 76 percent of readmissions are preventable, but the need for a healthy and safe recovery period is critical. RightTransitions seeks to prevent the avoidable patient readmissions and costs associated with Medicare.
Each RightTransitions program is uniquely designed for the patient it serves, and can range from 24-hour assistance to transportation and a few hours of in-home care immediately after leaving the hospital. Available services also include help with meal preparation, or ambulatory assistance in order to reduce the chance of an injury that could send an individual back to the hospital.
“RightTransitions is a game changer for hospitals and the senior care industry as a whole,” said Brewer. “One major reason that readmissions occur so frequently is the lack of support patients have after leaving the hospital. Through our work with several hospitals in the area, we are able to implement this program and further show our ability to dramatically reduce the rates of readmissions and costs to hospitals, while providing each individual the necessary support in order to truly improve their quality of life.”
During the RightTransitions pilot program in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a local hospital saw a 65 percent reduction in readmissions, and as a result, the hospital realized $1.1 million in savings. With the success of this program, the Community Care Networks of North Carolina submitted proposals to CMS and reached out to other Right at Home offices in the state including Brewer, along with Tom Arnold of Wake County and Marc and Tori Reid of Durham-Chapel Hill, to invite them to participate in the Community Based Care Transitions Program.
Through the funding from CCTP, all three franchisees have begun working with hospitals in their local communities to offer the RightTransitions program at no cost to patients who volunteer for this service. As the only in-home care providers asked to participate in these two programs, the franchise owners recognized the opportunity they were given to show the impact in-home care has on reducing hospital readmission rates.
“Many hospitals did not have a good understanding of the power of in-home care,” said Arnold. “Through our work with RightTransitions, we are granted the incredible opportunity to enlighten the healthcare community on how a little extra help after leaving the hospital can have major benefits for outgoing patients, and will dramatically reduce their chances of being readmitted within that 30 day window.”
The funding runs through January of 2015, and all three Right at Home franchisees involved are very optimistic about the results hospitals and patients will see.
“My goal is to help bring about a better system, reducing both the monetary and emotional cost of going back to the hospital,” said Reid. “We are a home care provider so we want to be chosen as the benefactor, but we are also tax payers and understand the rising cost of Medicare. Any programs that can reduce these costs will help us as a community and a nation.”
ABOUT RIGHT AT HOME
Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care and assistance to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently. Local Right at Home offices are independently owned and operated and directly employ and supervise all caregiving staff, each of whom is thoroughly screened, trained, bonded and insured prior to entering a client’s home. Right at Home’s global office is based in Omaha, Nebraska, with more than 300 franchise offices located in 42 states nationwide and throughout the world.