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How to Reduce Readmissions in Mental Health Treatment


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reduce readmissions

How to reduce readmissions is on the minds of healthcare administrators everywhere. Readmissions cause patient dissatisfaction, and providers feel the crunch in nonpayment from this issue. So how can the medical teams, including physical and mental health providers, work together to reduce readmissions? Unfortunately, the healthcare system is being held hostage in an old-school belief system; these trends will never change without all providers’ cooperation.

Medical and mental health providers can work together for the best treatment plan for joint patients. Reducing readmissions involves reducing stigma, realigning priorities, and being willing to change. How to reduce readmissions is within their abilities. It’s time for the healthcare system to leap into the reality of overall wellness opportunities.

Mental Healthcare Readmission Statistics

According to Modern Healthcare, almost 30% of adults with a physical condition also experience a mental illness. In addition, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has reported that 68% of patients with a behavioral health condition have a medical condition also. These statistics prove a need to coordinate healthcare measures between provider types. In addition, increasing revenue will only occur if providers learn how to reduce readmissions.

According to Modern Healthcare, providers need to consider the following facts:

  • 15-25% of patients with cancer also are diagnosed with depression
  • 15-25% of patients with diabetes also have depression
  • Upwards of 33% of patients who experience heart attack also develop depression

These facts lead to higher readmission rates and negatively affect revenue. Therefore, change must occur for providers to reestablish care protocols, maintain compliance, and learn how to reduce readmissions. The mental health community is struggling to provide adequate care for its patients. Mental health facilitators are presented with those experiencing mood disorders and schizophrenia being discharged and readmitted at alarming rates.

What Causes Readmissions?

In determining how to reduce readmissions, put your attention to the following factors that could be a hindrance to revenues. Evaluating your facility to pinpoint problems is a starting point. The change will only occur once difficulties are identified. If you need help with this process, professional healthcare consultants are experienced in assessing and evaluating quality control.

Factors that may lead to a high percentage of readmissions could include:

  • Inadequate treatment, lack of coordination between medical and mental health professionals
  • Medication mismanagement, how can proper medication be prescribed if medical physicians and mental health professionals are not in sync with the treatment of the patient as a whole
  • Poor outpatient follow-up and confusion in outpatient treatments
  • Additional substance use disorders

Essential Components to Reduce Readmissions

In addressing inadequate treatment factors, what could be done to correct this problem? First, when learning how to reduce readmissions, it’s critical to address any co-occurring disorders, whether physical or mental. Proper assessment tools can deliver higher-quality care to prevent undiagnosed psychological or physical conditions from escalating after discharge.

Co-occurring Physical and Mental Disorders

Address co-occurring disorders by using the following indicators:

  • Optimal in-depth intake screenings upon admission
  • PSYCKES reviews
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Referrals to physician providers
  • Four quadrants evaluating

Promoting Quality Communication with all Levels of Care

Facilitating improved communication practices between patients and providers can achieve a sense of cohesiveness between facility sectors. Joint assessments before discharge is an essential part of discharge planning. Communication for all levels of care must be conjoined in making the necessary changes while learning how to reduce readmissions. Caregiver support and involvement are paramount in successful communications that benefit the patient.

Including the Patient in Their Own Care

Engaging patients to participate in their care will make the patient feel respected and cared for. The staff must ask questions and entice participation from the patient, other providers and increase trust with the total care team. How to reduce readmissions begins with the ability to get to core issues and resolve them before the discharge process begins. It is crucial to continue to assess throughout the patient stay to identify all pertinent issues.

Family and Caregiver Involvement

Involving the caregivers and family of patients in the care plan is crucial in treatment fulfillment. The patient’s care is jeopardized without this essential step. The family and caregivers takeover when the physician and mental health professionals discharge the patient. How to reduce readmissions begins with the transfer of knowledge in proper care.

Follow Up After Discharge and Promoting Community Resources

Behavioral health and medical follow-up appointments must be scheduled and followed up on to be sure the information is dispersed between parties. Phone calls are a thing of the past, but are crucial in hearing the status of the patient straight in their own words. Healthcare needs to separate technological advances in text and email, and include a human aspect for their patient care. This is how to reduce readmissions on the long-term basis.

Educating the patient and caregivers about the community resources available to them is the most helpful factor to consider. This step is how to reduce readmissions, by empowering the patient to use the community mental health and medical opportunities that can help them stay well. Transportation services, food pantries and medication discount services are all examples of needed community services.

Benefits Of Reducing Readmission Rates

With the average cost of readmission per patient averaging $7,200; this information is extremely important. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have begun to penalize medical facilities and providers for their excessive readmission percentages. Then the bottom line is that without this action, the patient suffers even more. Patient viability is the utmost concern for healthcare providers. Medical practices, providers and hospitals all suffer from these rising rates. Make it a priority to learn how to reduce readmissions.

Professional Consultants Help Reduce Readmissions in Florida

If your medical practice, facility or mental health treatment center is struggling with high readmission percentages, contact Bloom Healthcare Consulting. Our diverse, current methodologies can be shared through our quality consultants working closely with administrators. Make the necessary changes now by setting up an initial meeting with us. Improving the revenue of your facility is our main concern. Contact us today.