It’s time that we lock down the revolving door of hospital readmissions in New Jersey.
Kaiser Health News reported this month that an unprecedented number of hospitals will face fines in the upcoming year for their high readmission rates. These penalties, administered by the federal government, are intended to spur hospitals to improve post-release care and take every step necessary to make sure that patients don’t need to be readmitted.
One obvious, but often overlooked, solution to help reduce readmissions, save hospitals money and improve patient health is to support those providing in-home care. Both the NJ Assembly and Senate have passed legislation, known as the CARE Act.
Lead sponsors Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senator Joe Vitale introduced the legislation that aids family caregivers as they look after loved ones at home after hospital stays. By requiring hospital staff to provide detailed instructions on administration of in-home care, legislation like this enables caregivers to address their loved ones’ needs and avoid readmission. This, in turn, ensures that families can forego unnecessary medical expenses and hospitals can avoid the severe fines imposed for high readmission rates.
In NJ, every hospital, except one, will be subject to penalties for high readmission rates this year. The first step toward fixing this, which hurts everyone involved, is for Governor Christie to sign the CARE Act into law.
Lilyan Cralle, Willingboro, NJ
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