Radiologist’s New Opportunity to Add Value – “Readmission Reduction Initiatives”

The following post was contributed by guest blogger Ashima Lall, MD, MBA.  

As we know, The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have a provision under section 3025 of the Affordable Care Act, which establishes the Hospital Readmission Reduction Initiative, requiring CMS to penalize IPPS hospitals for unplanned 30 day readmission effective Oct. 1, 2012.

Being actively involved in many hospital committees and advisory boards, I learned that readmission reduction initiatives are one of the top priorities of health care organizations as unplanned 30 day readmissions carry alarming financial penalties.  As a practicing radiologist with clinical experience in evidence-based practices, a business background, and a six sigma certificate of achievement, I thought this was an incredible opportunity to leverage my skills to gain an in-depth understanding of readmissions issue and be part of solutions that close care gaps.

I also believe it is imperative to hardwire the radiologist’s “value added role” in health care organizations, and reflected that my involvement in this initiative would help reinforce radiologist’s distinctive position in the new evolving patient centric health care delivery models.

I asked myself, “Is my hospital readmission committee looking for participation from physicians?” The answer was apparent as I looked into it further. The committee was exhilarated and welcomed me as an esteemed member of the initiative. With my active participation in discussions involving root cause analysis, risk assessment tools, and coordination of care across the care continuum, the committee recognizes unconditional dedication for engagement and collaboration with the other clinical, nursing, and administrative associates.

It has been a rewarding experience to collaborate within the cross functional environment where the goal is to prevent readmissions, an issue that is on the forefront of all the stakeholders.

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4 thoughts on “Radiologist’s New Opportunity to Add Value – “Readmission Reduction Initiatives”

  1. Dr. Lall,

    Can you please share some of the changes you have made to your practice which allow you, in your clinical radiology role, to directly reduce the 30 day readmission rate?

  2. Dr. Lall,

    I too have learned of the critical importance of reducing 30 day readmissions. However I have not come across a concrete way to affect the rate in my clinical radiology role. Can you share concrete steps which allow a radiologist to have a direct measurable impact on the 30 day readmission rate?

  3. Thanks for the great questions!

    As radiologists, in a clinical role, we are contributing everyday in reducing readmissions by providing clinicians timely and accurate reports using evidence-based recommendations. We can take a step further and be a part of the initiative at our healthcare organizations. Radiologists are in a unique position as we have firsthand experience with evidence- based guidelines, root cause analysis, effective communication strategies, preventive services, and coordination of care teams. We can leverage these strengths and contribute in the formulation of practical solutions for safe patient transitions, which is vital for preventing readmissions.

    • Thank you Dr. Lall for your article! I didn’t understand your answer though (my fault as I am a MD not MBA!). The question someone previously asked was if you could give “concrete’ steps the rest of us should follow. Do you have better real-life specifics you can share? Do you have full support from your practice chairman?

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