doctor with senior woman

Special Report: Transitions in Care


Consider this: 1-in-5 hospital patients end up back in the hospital within 30 days of their discharge. And the biggest factors pulling them back all have to do with medications — either through medication errors, nonadherence or adverse drug events.

That’s according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which put the cost of those revolving-door readmissions at $25 billion or more a year. Other estimates peg the cost as high as $44 billion, according to physician Stephen Jencks, a health consultant and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

With better systems for transitioning patients from the hospital to the home or long-term-care center — and improved coordination of care between the hospital and a local safety net of health providers including pharmacies, clinics and physician groups — the vast majority of those readmissions could be avoided, Jencks and other health experts said.


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