Report: Collaboration among WI hospitals improves patient care, - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Report: Collaboration among WI hospitals improves patient care, reduces healthcare costs

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MILWAUKEE (WKOW) -- Efforts to improve healthcare in Wisconsin are paying off, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

The Associated Press obtained the group's report, which was released early Tuesday morning. The report says more than 100 Wisconsin hospitals have been collaborating to share knowledge and best practices to keep people from staying in the hospital too long, and to keep them from being re-admitted. The association's report says those efforts averted nearly $40 million in healthcare costs since mid-2012.

Specifically, the collaboration resulted in a decrease in re-admissions, hospital-associated infections and bad reactions to medication. Hospital teams had monthly online sessions to talk about healthcare strategies that have worked well. They discussed ways to make sure patients understand what they need to do after a hospital stay, and shared ways to cut down on adverse reactions to medications.

The AP reports hospitals have been looking to cut costs as their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates go down. The new healthcare law requires Medicare to reduce payments to hospitals that have an excessive number of re-admissions. The report says, though, the efforts to reduce re-admissions were already underway before the new law passed.

The report says since 2012, about 3,556 discharged patients didn't have to be re-admitted, which saved about $34 million. Wisconsin Hospital Association President Steve Brenton told the AP, "When improvement work reduces hospital-associated infections and readmissions it translates into cost savings, and that is a value for patients, employers and insurers."

Click here for a link to the full report.

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