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National Study on Best Practices in Home Health to Reduce Re-hospitalizations Planned

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 General News J E 4
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ALTOONA, Pa., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Targeting a pressing and costly issue and its effect on the home health industry, Delta Health Technologies, LLC ("Delta") today announced a national study to identify best practices being used by homecare's most successful agencies in reducing unplanned hospital readmissions.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101004/PH75270LOGO )

Co-sponsoring the effort will be the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign, the Forum of State Associations and Fazzi Associates, a national best-practice research firm who will manage and coordinate the study. Additional national groups are anticipated to co-sponsor or support the effort.

"Re-hospitalization is one of the most critical issues affecting quality scores and overall credibility of homecare agencies, not to mention patients themselves," said Keith Crownover, Delta president & CEO and chairman of NAHC's Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA), "and agencies are under incredible pressure to reduce their hospitalization rates. We are extremely pleased and excited to be a sponsor of this study, and believe it will have a positive impact not only on homecare agencies but on our nation's healthcare industry as a whole."

The study will be overseen by a National Steering Committee made up of sponsors and key agency leaders from each region of the country. An initial report of findings and recommendations will be presented at NAHC's 30th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. A complete study report and webinars will also be provided at no cost to all homecare agencies beginning in late October.

Each year, millions of patients are discharged from hospitals, only to end up being readmitted. A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that 20% of fee-for-service Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, and 34% return to the hospital within 90 days, often due to unclear discharge directions or lack of follow up communication with their caregivers. Medicare is responding by paying reduced fees when a patient is readmitted for the same condition. The cost of avoidable readmissions to CMS is estimated at approximately $17.4 billion.

According to NAHC, since the inception of Home Health Compare, home health re-hospitalization rates nationally have hovered around 29%, while at the same time, more than a quarter of all agencies have scores of 25% or lower. "Obviously, many homecare agencies have developed expertise in keeping readmissions to a minimum," adds Crownover, "but the goal in this study is to uncover exactly what practices tend to work best and share the findings with the entire industry. Even a 2% difference would result in reducing over 63,000 hospitalizations at a net savings of $0.5 billion."

A leader in the homecare software industry for more than 40 years, Delta develops specialized solutions and services for homecare, hospice and private duty. Delta has also sponsored the National OASIS-C Best Practice Study and the National Excellence in Therapy Project, a study addressing the appropriate levels of homecare therapy services. Guidelines from these efforts have been incorporated into Delta's latest software tool, ClinicalVirtuoso™, built collaboratively with almost 20 therapy organizations and currently available to the industry.

For more information, visit DeltaHealthTech.com.

About Delta Health Technologies, LLC

Delta Health Technologies, LLC is one of the most experienced providers of information systems and services for homecare entities nationwide. Headquartered in Altoona, Pa., Delta focuses exclusively on providing technology solutions for homecare, hospice and private duty. Delta has been working with its customers to achieve their goals for more than 40 years. More information can be obtained by visiting DeltaHealthTech.com.

SOURCE Delta Health Technologies, LLC

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