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Highmark program adds required readmission tracking

Highmark will place more emphasis in its pay-for-performance hospital program on reducing readmissions, the Pittsburgh-based insurer said today.

Beginning this month, Highmark’s Quality Blue program is requiring participating hospitals to identify patients admitted within 30 days of a previous admission. Previously, such tracking was voluntary, Highmark said in a statement.

Hospitals can reduce preventable readmissions by improving patient discharge procedures and follow-up care, Highmark said. Preventable readmissions add an estimated $25 billion to U.S. health care costs each year, the company said.

Ninety hospitals in Pennsylvania and West Virginia participate in Quality Blue, which Highmark started in 2001. Member hospitals “typically outperform other hospitals in numerous quality areas,” Highmark said.

Midstate organizations participating in Quality Blue include the PinnacleHealth System and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

 

Tim Stuhldreher

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