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News Release: Latest PHC4 Report Shows Drop in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations

April 26, 2018

The latest Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) report highlights the important work that hospitals are doing to help consumers maintain optimal health and delay disease progression. The report, released today, found that during the past decade—fiscal year (FY) 2009 through FY 2017—the rate of potentially preventable hospitalizations dropped by 28 percent.

“Pennsylvania’s hospitals constantly are striving to provide patients with safe, high-quality care, and we commend them for their work to lower the rate of potentially preventable hospitalizations by 28 percent,” said Michael J. Consuelos, M.D., senior vice president, clinical integration, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP).

“This improvement underscores the Pennsylvania hospital community’s dedication to increasing access to preventive care, chronic disease management services, and initiatives designed to help consumers get and stay healthy—and avoid hospitalization altogether.”

During the time period of this report, Pennsylvania’s health care landscape has significantly shifted, responding to the needs of an increasingly older population facing complex medical conditions. The report found that the highest frequency of potentially preventable hospitalizations arose from patients with heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. The highest rates of potentially preventable hospitalizations occurred in Pennsylvanians aged 75 and older.

“Hospitals are adapting to the changing needs of the communities they serve by working to expand the scope of services that they provide and emphasizing continuity of care across the spectrum of inpatient and outpatient services,” Dr. Consuelos continued.

“Meeting with patients when they are not sick—such as during annual wellness visits—allows for the opportunity to make long-term treatment decisions that help in reducing the frequency of acute events, which often require hospitalization.”

Further, hospitals more frequently are using case managers to achieve this care coordination for patients with complex medical conditions, such as heart failure, COPD, and diabetes. Case managers can provide these patients with better opportunities to interact with their health care providers and receive the support they need to better manage their own care plans.

Health care models have shifted focus to emphasize population health and preventive care. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes across the state, which are designed to provide better care coordination.

Quality and safety improvement continue to be major focuses of the Pennsylvania hospital community. Through HAP’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN), hospitals are working together to share best practices and improve patient safety and outcomes. HAP HIIN’s goals include an overall harm reduction of 20 percent and 12 percent reduction in 30-day readmissions.

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