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Interesting article from Crain's Chicago Business on hospitals seeing the upside to home-based health care...

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
December 4, 2009

From the November 2, 2009 Crain's Chicago Business, an article by Mike Colias

Growth Rx: Keep Patients Away

As seen in Crain's Chicago Business
Published November 2, 2009
By Mike Colias

TomCornwell is on pace this month to make his 25,000th career house call,a milestone that has cost his employer millions of dollars in forgonerevenue by keeping sick patients out of the hospital.

"They'repaying me to keep business away," says Dr. Cornwell, a geriatrician whohas worked for Central DuPage Hospital for 12 years. "But it makesperfect sense to give the sickest patients good care at home so theydon't have to go to the hospital unnecessarily."

Many localhospitals are arriving at that same conclusion, prodded in part bymeasures included in sweeping health reform bills grinding throughCongress that would penalize hospitals that have a revolving door forchronically sick patients, a big driver of rising medical costs. Thehospitals are beefing up home-care services to more closely monitorthose patients in hopes of preventing costly readmissions — and afuture hit to the bottom line.

"Home care has become a strategicopportunity for hospitals because of incentives that are coming toprevent unnecessary admissions and improve long-term outcomes," saysNathan Cohen, a senior analyst at Sg2, a health care consultancy inSkokie.

Illinois hospitals have more work to do than most: Astudy published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April foundthat 21.7% of Medicare patients discharged from Illinois hospitals in2004 returned within a month — the nation's fourth-highest rate.

Read the full article