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Groups work to reduce hospital readmissions

Glendale Memorial and Glendale Adventist have been penalized for high rates.

December 13, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
  • Glendale Memorial Hospital will lose up to 1% is its Medicare reimbursements for 2013 due to hospital readmissions.
Glendale Memorial Hospital will lose up to 1% is its Medicare… (Times Community…)

The Glendale Healthier Community Coalition brought together representatives from several nonprofit organizations this week for a workshop with the three local hospitals looking at ways to reduce patient readmissions.

Starting Oct. 1, Medicare began penalizing hospitals whose readmissions of patients with pneumonia, congestive heart failure and coronary disease were above a rate established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services using past information from each site and statistics from hospitals of similar sizes and demographics.

For fiscal year 2013, Glendale Memorial Hospital will lose up to 1% is its Medicare reimbursements — the highest penalty levied — and Glendale Adventist Medical Center will lose about 0.7%, according to information from the Medicare agency. Verdugo Hills Hospital will not lose any reimbursements.

Thomas Backer, president of Encino-based Valley Nonprofit Resources, told the coalition on Monday that nonprofits can play a pivotal role in reducing readmissions.

“It starts in the hospital, but it has to go out into the community if it’s to be successful,” said Backer, whose organization serves more than 4,000 nonprofit organizations in the San Fernando Valley, including Glendale and Burbank.

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An important way to reduce readmissions is to let recently released patients and their caregivers know what local resources are available to them.

To that end, a website for the coalition is being developed, said Lisa Raggio — senior director of community services, development and communications at the YWCA of Glendale — who is heading up the website project.

A member directory on the site will provide each coalition organization with a Web page featuring its services and links to its own website.

The coalition website, which doesn’t have a name yet, should launch in the spring or early summer, said Shant Sahakian, president of Sedna Solutions, which is designing the site.

Users can fill out a questionnaire on the site where they can list their healthcare needs.

“That user, after inputting their information, can find out what resources would be best for them to utilize,” Raggio said.

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