NJHA Launches Statewide Collaborative to Reduce Hospital Readmissions for Heart Failure

Jun 17, 2010, 12:24 ET from New Jersey Hospital Association

PRINCETON, N.J., June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 5 million individuals in the United States suffer from chronic heart failure, making it one of the most common reasons for hospitalizations and readmissions. To address this costly issue, the New Jersey Hospital Association's Institute for Quality and Patient Safety this week launched a yearlong collaborative partnership to reduce hospital readmissions due to heart failure and improve the quality of healthcare in New Jersey.

More than 50 organizations are taking part in the initiative, representing hospitals, nursing homes, home health and hospice. Team members from each facility will meet over the next year with industry leaders in a series of learning sessions. They'll also share data, best practices and strategies to reduce readmissions in a collaborative environment.  

"Hospital readmissions are a very complex issue, with many factors beyond the control of healthcare providers. Some readmissions are simply unavoidable," said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan. "But we all know there is always more to be done to make our healthcare system more efficient. With that as our motivation, this collaborative aims to zero in on factors that can help us prevent certain readmissions – for the sake of our patients and the overall quality and efficiency of our healthcare system."

The federal healthcare reform law also identifies readmissions as a potential way to reduce healthcare costs.

Over 150 team members gathered at NJHA yesterday to launch the initiative. They heard from a panel of industry leaders, including Dr. Don Casey from Atlantic Health, Dr. Robert Faillace of St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Fran Griffin of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Dr. Andrew Miller of Healthcare Quality Strategies Inc. and Nancy Skinner of the Case Management Society of America.

Goals of the yearlong initiative include:

  • Gaining a better understanding of why patients are being readmitted to hospitals;
  • Identifying and sharing best practices that will help reduce readmissions;
  • Developing resources for hospitals and post-acute providers to improve care of heart failure patients;
  • Developing resources for patients to better manage their heart failure; and
  • Using lessons learned from working with the heart failure population and readmissions data and spread this information to other groups such as diabetics, other cardiac patients and patients with pneumonia.

"This collaborative to reduce hospital readmissions is just one example of New Jersey hospitals' commitment to enacting meaningful changes that will make healthcare better, safer and less costly," says Aline Holmes, MSN, RN, director of the Institute for Quality and Patient Safety and senior vice president of clinical affairs for NJHA.

Reporters and Editors: Contact NJHA for a list of participating facilities.

Contact: Kerry McKean Kelly, 609-275-4069, kmckean@njha.com

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association