Taking On the Readmissions Challenge

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , October 16, 2013

Thomas Foster
Bucktail Medical Center
Renovo, Pa.

Thomas Foster

Thomas Foster CEO
Bucktail Medical Center

It is a challenge primarily because we are a critical access hospital in a very rural part of the country. Those 30-day readmission rates are the element over which we have very little control. We are the only provider of healthcare services in a 25-mile radius. We aren't subject to a punitive action at this point. It is coming. It is going to be part of our quality metrics and that piece is going to be one of those things that we have to do a better job at managing the patient outside of the facility.

We can provide the community information. We can provide all of the resources. But at times you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. With those preventive programs, it's definitely going to help us head off some of this, but not necessarily be one of those things that we are going to effectively manage.

One of the things we are preparing to do is to be able to build into our contractual allowances the idea that there are going to be cases where we are not going to get reimbursed. We project reserves for bad debt and for uncompensated care and it's going to be a part of that factor. It's unfortunate, but it's just one of the challenges we are faced with.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.




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