The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health has published this Guide to Preventing Readmissions Among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Medicare Beneficiaries. Racial and ethnic minority populations are more likely than their white counterparts to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge for certain chronic conditions, such as heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia, among others. Social, cultural, and linguistic barriers contribute to these higher readmission rates. With an increased focus on how hospitals can reduce avoidable readmissions, this guide provides timely recommendations on how to incorporate racial and ethnic disparities reduction into such efforts.
The guide makes seven recommendations:
- Create a strong radar (data collection)
- Identify the root causes
- Start from the start
- Deploy a team
- Consider systems and social determinants
- Focus on culturally competent, communication-sensitive, high risk scenarios
- Foster community relationships to promote continuity of care
The guide includes three case examples how the recommendations can be used to implement specific interventions to reduce avoidable readmissions. The guide was created in collaboration with the Disparities Solution Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.