Yes – It is Possible to Reduce Your Facility’s Readmission Rates
It is in our best interests as a behavioral health management provider to help our clients offer the best services in the most efficient and cost-effective way. With that in mind, we know that high readmission rates are not good. But we also know that facilities do not have to accept high readmission rates as inevitable. There are things facilities can do to bring those rates down.
Whether you work with a behavioral health management provider or not, it is possible to reduce your facility’s readmission rates. The more effectively you do that, the better the outcomes for your patients. As an added bonus, your facility will get less heat from CMS.
Every situation is different. Therefore, this post will not offer a prescribed solution guaranteed to work for every facility. Instead, we offer several suggestions your facility can take a look at. Do not hesitate to contact us if we can help.
1. Identify and Treat Co-Occurring Disorders
A primary cause of readmission is a failure among clinical staff to identify and treat co-occurring disorders. Because only one disorder is treated while another is not, the disorder that isn’t treated continues to persist. This often leads to patients needing more care than would have been necessary if both disorders had been treated simultaneously.
Identifying and treating co-occurring disorders requires a thorough patient assessment during initial treatment. Everything from intake screenings to 4-quadrant assessments can help.
2. Establish Ties with Community Resources
Upon discharge, many patients need more than just weekly visits with their clinicians. They need support and services from other organizations. Your facility can help provide that support by establishing ties with community organizations offering a variety of resources and services. Establishing such ties amounts to a collaboration between your facility and community organizations, all working together to improve patient outcomes.
3. Engage Family Members
Family members are often the forgotten participants in mental health provisioning. Yet because of the unique relationships they have with patients, they are in a position to help in ways that neither community services nor behavioral health facilities can. It is imperative to engage family members prior to release so that a patient gets the full help and support they can offer.
A key aspect in family member engagement is involving the family in planning for discharge. Family members should also be encouraged to actively participate in managing a patient’s care from home. They can help by monitoring medication, making connections with community resources, and advocating on behalf of the patient as needed.
4. Engage the Patients Themselves
Our healthcare system has a tendency to treat patients as nothing more than recipients of care. Clinicians give the instructions and patients follow. Unfortunately, this often leaves patients feeling ill-equipped to make decisions or advocate for themselves. This needs to change. Readmission rates do not tend to go down until patients become actively engaged in their own care.
Involve patients in the decision-making process. Involve them in developing a discharge plan. By teaching them to participate in, and take advantage of, their own care you equip them to avoid readmission.
The CMS takes readmission seriously. Readmissions are costly and inefficient. They also weigh negatively on patients. The goal of reducing readmissions is about improving outcomes, helping patients enjoy a higher quality of life, and preventing some of the problems ongoing mental health issues tend to lead to.
If your facility’s readmission rates are higher than the CMS wants, don’t just live with it. There are things we can do to bring those rates down. Let us work together to do them.
Let’s Get to Work, Together
Contact us to learn more about how Horizon Health can help you start a behavioral health program or take an existing program to new heights.