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Program targets unplanned rehospitalizations


By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: January 28, 2010 - 3:15 pm ET
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The Society of Hospital Medicine, working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan, announced that it will be launching a 15-site implementation of its program designed to avoid unplanned or preventable hospitalizations and emergency department visits within 30 days after discharge.

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The program, called Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safer Transitions), uses tools such as identifying high-risk patients; educating patients on their conditions and possible side effects of medication; scheduling follow-up physician appointments; and medication reconciliation at discharge to ensure that drugs prescribed at discharge don't harmfully interact with previously prescribed drugs, said Mark Williams who edits the SHM's Journal of Hospital Medicine and is principal investigator on the project.

Williams co-wrote a New England Journal of Medicine report that estimated unplanned rehospitalizations cost Medicare $17.4 billion in 2004. Project BOOST was launched as a six-hospital pilot in September 2008 and expanded to 24 other sites last March. Michigan physician practices are being recruited to participate while more than 15 hospitals have already expressed interest. Williams said the hospitals will be selected in late April or May, the program will be rolled out in the fall and that, after a year, measurable performance data should be available.

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