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Glendale selected for hospital readmission study

Four other California communities will also be selected.

May 18, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com

Glendale is one of five California communities to be selected by a state agency to partner in efforts to reduce hospital readmissions. The communities also will study ways to improve patient transitions from hospitals or nursing facilities to home.

“They are positioned for success,” said Gina Fleming, clinical project manager for Health Services Advisory Group of California, which selected the communities.

The other four communities will be announced soon, she added.

The state agency will provide technical assistance to the communities to find the causes of readmissions and identify appropriate ways to improve care transitions, Fleming said.

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One of the main reasons Glendale was picked was the Glendale Healthier Community Coalition, which tackles various health issues in the city.

Coalition members have reported that more than 20% of high-risk patents are readmitted to hospitals in Glendale within 30 days of being released.

About 40,000 patients are discharged from local hospitals each year, according to the coalition.

Fleming said the coalition, which includes representatives from the three hospitals in Glendale and area health care agencies, was the main reason for Glendale’s selection.

“One of the things was their commitment to reducing readmissions and improving the health in their community,” she said.

Bruce Nelson, director of community services at Glendale Adventist Medical Center and co-chair of the task force formed by the coalition, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The task force, which is working with skilled nursing facilities and with Ascencia, the area’s largest homeless services provider, was formed to better monitor discharged patients.

Among the problems that can lead to readmission include high-risk patients who don’t see a doctor in the first week after release from a hospital, or don’t immediately get their prescriptions filled, coalition members said.

The task force also includes organizations such as the YMCA, YWCA, Catholic Charities and the Armenian Relief Society, which will provide health and fitness programs for discharged patients.

That collaboration was another reason Glendale Healthier Community Coalition played a key role in the selection, Fleming said.

“They are one of the only communities in the nation that has such a diverse group of community-based groups at the table,” Fleming said, adding that even first-responders from the local fire department have taken part in meetings.

Agency members making the selection also were impressed that the coalition was going ahead with its task force even if it doesn’t receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with which the Health Services Advisory Group of California contracts.

The federal agency has set aside $500 million to give to organizations and communities across the country to help reduce hospital readmissions and improve care transitions.

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