New report shows good readmission rates at Franklin Memorial

Less than two weeks after Franklin Memorial Hospital was named to a list of hospitals to be penalized for high patient readmission rates, another report says the Farmington hospital's readmission rates are better than most.

The Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report, or PEPPER, is put out by the TMF Health Quality Institute. According to the group's website, it does this work under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide comparative data to hospitals.

A PEPPER list recieved by Franklin Memorial this week shows the hospital's 30-day readmission rates for all Medicare patients have been consistently lower than the national and regional average since 2009. And despite a few spikes, most of the time its readmission rates have been the same as or lower than other hospitals in the state.

"We're actually in a good place," said Gerald Cayer, executive vice president of the Franklin Community Health Network, which runs Farmington's Franklin Memorial Hospital. "What you can see is Franklin actually does a pretty decent job with 30-day readmissions."

Franklin Memorial is one of 10 hospitals statewide and one of more than 2,000 across the country set to be penalized by the government because too many of its Medicare patients were readmitted soon after discharge. The penalties are based on the frequency that Medicare heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia patients were readmitted to any hospital, for any reason, within 30 days between July 2008 and June 2011.

PEPPER looked at all Medicare patients, not only those admitted for specific illnesses. It considered readmissions between mid-2009 and mid-2012.

Medicare's penalties will be deducted from reimbursements each time a hospital submits a claim starting Oct. 1. Franklin Memorial's penalty will be 0.16 percent. That's about $12 per Medicare patient, or $13,300 total.

Cayer said his hospital has been working on readmission rates for more than a year-and-a-half, with a focus on getting patients follow-up care and making sure they understand their medical needs and medications before they leave the hospital. 

He said Medicare's own numbers show Franklin Memorial was under the readmission cap in two of the three categories — heart failure and pneumonia — and it only missed the cutoff for heart attack readmission by four patients over that three-year period. One of those, he said, was a patient admitted to another hospital for chemotherapy, a treatment that had nothing to do with the patient's original stay at Franklin Memorial 

He also feels it's unfair for Medicare to penalize the hospital for readmission rates that occurred four years ago.  

"From an administrative perspective, this is more about addressing a federal budget deficit issue than really promoting quality," he said. "It's a way for Medicare to take funds back."

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not return calls seeking comment by deadline.

While Medicare considered data between 2008 and 2011, PEPPER looked at data between 2009 and 2012. Cayer believes that more accurately gauges where the hospital stands now.

"I was thrilled because it validated for me our local experience around 30-day admissions," he said.

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FRANK EARLEY's picture

It happensw more than you think.....

About five years ago, i got sick. I got real sick, to the point that my friends took me to the emergency room. They tell me it was a busy day at the hospital, as well as being a Saturday. They gave me some medicine and sent me home. My friends say I was pretty much out of it. All my friends could do was aim me in the right direction to my apartment and hope for the best. I mention the fact that my friends did all this for one reason. I have absolutely no recollection of any of it. Like I said that was on a busy Saturday. Monday morning, I somehow stumbled down to my friends apartment, they ended up taking me out by ambulance. Again, I only have my friends accounts of what happened, I don't remember anything after about Friday of that weekend. I was talking to the fire department and ambulance people, but no memory of it. I was only 48, or 49 at the time, I'm willing to bet my actions were at the least, unusual.
I ended up staying in the hospital for five or six days, I had pneumonia. They told me I almost died on Monday, yet no one seemed to anxious about it just two days before.I guess if there's a moral to this story, don't ever take one persons word for anything. Doctors are human too, in times of hectic confusion, they can miss things. I know this first hand.
I am in no way insinuating that this is a chronic problem, its not. It does happen though. If your the "friend" make sure you ask the questions your patient can't. Sometimes it takes a little extra push to avoid a readmission.

Jennifer Chretien's picture

It seems to me that

It seems to me that penalizing a hospital if a patient is readmitted for something that is completely unrelated to the original stay is a bit ridiculous. If they are only looking at readmits for the same condition that at least makes sense. Though I will say no matter how much you educate a patient or put follow-up care in place no hospital has control of a patient's follow through after they are discharged.


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