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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hospital Readmissions Lowered Significantly

Effort Improves Patient Care and Reduces Health Care Costs for Everyone

No one likes to be admitted to the hospital and no one wants to have to return after being released prematurely or because he or she did not follow their doctor’s medical instructions. CenCal Health launched the Hospital Readmission “Reduction” (HRI) Program last year in a response to increasing national awareness regarding the increased costs associated with hospital readmissions and the benefits to Primary Care Providers, hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid systems as well as patients when these readmissions are decreased.


The HRI Program seeks to establish the opportunity for CenCal Health and its contracted providers to collaborate and improve the quality of patient care while simultaneously reducing health care costs.

“When a patient is discharged from a hospital prematurely and then has to be readmitted, there are negative impacts on several levels,” said Bob Freeman, CEO of CenCal Health. “For the patient and their family, having to go back into the hospital can be extremely traumatic. For the general public, readmissions usually happen through the emergency room which is extremely costly to the healthcare system overall.”

The Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform recognized the need for good management during patient transitions/discharge from hospitals and proper follow up afterwards as key components to reduce the reoccurrence of readmissions to hospitals. A primary goal of CenCal Health’s HRI Program is to ensure a prompt follow-up visit is completed by the patient’s primary care provider after an impatient hospital stay for members deemed to be a high risk for hospital readmission.

“By identifying the primary causes for readmission, we have been able to prevent readmissions before they occur,” said Freeman. “In its first six months, our Hospital Readmission Program has shown remarkable results and is a win-win for us all.”

From January through July 2012, CenCal Health’s hospital readmission rate showed a 23% improvement over the previous year. These numbers show the increasing potential to reduce costs and improve care.

CenCal Health administers several publicly-sponsored health care programs for low income residents of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. CenCal Health is a public entity that is governed by a 13 member Board of Directors appointed by the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo county boards of supervisors. Its Board of Directors is composed of local government, physicians, hospital, member, other health care provider and business representatives. For more information, visit www.cencalhealth.org. For more information about the HRI Program, please contact Krista Vega at (805) 562-1024.