Pharmacy Aligns With Hospitals to Reduce Readmissions

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , October 16, 2012

"I'm a heart failure nurse and my job is to counsel people on their heart failure and make sure that they have all the tools they need to take care of themselves. Medication noncompliance is a really big cause of readmission."

Gaillard said she had no hard data on how the pharmacy program affected its readmission rate, but another participating hospital, Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, WA. does, says Wright.

"We only took the high risk patients, so the patients they felt were most likely to readmit, and of the first 48, only three of them readmitted. If you just look at heart failure, for example, the national average around that would be 20 percent."

Retailers are expanding their role in the healthcare continuum. Retail pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and CVS, started moving closer to patients and providers years ago when they unveiled walk-in clinics. This month Wal-Mart announced that beginning in January 2013, it will pay for cardiac and spinal surgeries for its employees through a bundled payment arrangement with six hospitals.

Both Walgreens and Wal-Mart are promoting the programs as no additional costs to patients.

"WellTransitions does enter into an agreement with the health system, so the health system does participate, and it's all covered through the fee reductions or penalty reductions or avoidance through the Medicare healthcare reform," says Wright.

Acceptance of these programs from patients who recognize brands they trust may move the coordinated model of care forward.

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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