Crisp Regional Medical Center’s Health Equity Approach to Decreasing Readmissions

February 28, 2024
for Hospital/Pharmacy/Home Health Staff

During the annual Georgia Hospital Association Patient Safety and Quality Summit, hospitals submit quality improvement projects for the chance to earn recognition and a GHA Patient Safety and Quality Award, which highlights the hospitals’ quality journey from the previous year.

Recognizing that hospital readmissions create significant expenses for health care organizations, Crisp Regional Medical Center’s project focused on reducing readmissions. Approximately 2 million Americans are readmitted to the hospital every year, and an estimated $17 billion of U.S. health care costs associated with hospital readmissions is considered preventable. Additionally, research shows that patients with social risk factors are at higher risk for hospital readmissions than their counterparts.

To focus on the prevention of avoidable readmissions for this vulnerable population, Crisp Regional created a readmission task force. The team identified areas that are especially important when targeting opportunities for diverse populations: transportation, culturally competent patient education, obtaining medications, linkage to primary care, connection to community-based resources, obtaining health insurance/disability benefits, and implementation of an outpatient social worker. The team focused on multiple areas because research shows that combining strategies is more impactful than focusing on single interventions. See graphics for health equity resource integration and distribution of transportation program patient destinations.

Crisp SS Photo 1

Over the past 12 months, the hospital has seen more than a 3% linear reduction in readmissions. Additionally, since establishing the readmission task force, there has been a 31% reduction in self-pay readmissions compared to the previous 12-month period.

Crisp SS Photo 2

Another benefit of the task force is that it allows key stakeholders to collaborate on the execution and integration of these processes to ensure a consistent, systematic approach to addressing health disparities. The Crisp Regional team is confident in their establishment of solid resources and oversight to manage patients identified with social needs and prevent readmissions. In addition, the team will continue to work to ensure resources are integrated and implemented to their fullest potential.

The resources and systems that Crisp Regional has in place to address health disparities go beyond readmission prevention and patients with social needs, which is why the team will next identify additional target populations and determine how to address those disparities.

Crisp Regional’s health equity journey will continue to be a plan, do, study, act cycle. Having a dependable, multidisciplinary team committed to addressing community needs is a crucial component of their success. Learn more about Crisp Regional’s health equity approach to readmissions on the Health Equity Office Hours scheduled for Thursday, March 21, 2024 from 3-4:00 p.m. ET. Register here.