Federal Initiative Aims to Lower Hospital Re-Admissions from Nursing Homes

Jul 26, 2013

Thirteen of the Pittsburgh region’s nursing homes are taking part in a federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiative to reduce the number of nursing home residents who are re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days.

Four of those 13  are the Kane Regional Centers in McKeesport, Glen Hazel, Ross and Scott Township.  Those centers are receiving an in-house nurse practitioner and employee training designed to help pick out situations that need medical intervention.

The “Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations using Evidence-based Interventions for Nursing Facilities in Western Pennsylvania,” or RAVEN is funded by a $19 million grant awarded to UPMC Community Provider Services. Because of that funding, Dennis Biondo, executive director of the Kane Regional Centers, said adding a staff member won’t cost more for the nursing home residents or the facility.

“When issues might arise with a resident, a medical issue, (a nurse practitioner) will be able to do an immediate evaluation, contact the physician as necessary, make a determination whether or not admission back to the hospital is appropriate or if this is something that can be managed at the nursing facility,” Biondo said.

According to the CMS, nearly half of hospitalizations among Medicaid and Medicare nursing home residents are avoidable.

“It’s an effort to try to reduce the number of hospitalizations of residents of nursing homes who might have to be re-admitted to a hospital within 30 days of a prior hospital admission,” Biondo said.  The goal is to reduce the number of re-admissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013.

According to the CMS initiative, intervention techniques will be evaluated for their effectiveness in improving health outcomes and providing residents with a better care experience.

Biondo added the nurse practitioners are being recruited by UPMC Community Provider Services and will be in the Kane Regional Centers in the coming weeks.