Avoidable hospital readmissions cost an estimated $17 billion in 2013. In that same year, over 2200 hospitals were penalized approximately $280 million for what CMS determined to be avoidable readmissions. The number of hospitals being penalized, and the fines are trending up. We “get” what the problem is – it’s widely acknowledged that poor communications between and among hospitals, nursing centers, home care agencies and other “post-acute” care providers are at the heart of this transitions of care problem. These communications miscues show up most glaringly with regard to medication errors.
• 50% of hospital medication errors and 20% of adverse medication events are due to poor communications at the time of discharge/transition
• 50% of patients experience a medication error after discharge from the hospital
• 60% of post discharge adverse drug events are preventable
With a problem this large, and the facts so clear, it should be stunning that pharmacists are not integrally involved in resolving the challenge. I have written about this often, and given presentations about the role of pharmacists in long term care as well. Considering that pharmacists are the only healthcare professionals who “touch” the patient at every point in his/her episode of care, especially during transitions.
And let’s be clear, the problem isn’t the pharmacists, the problem is that the pharmacists aren’t involved in transitions of care.
The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists will be hosting ASCP Forum: Pharmaceutical Care and Post-Acute Transitions on April 27 – 28 in Baltimore. The Forum is a discussion among long term care stakeholders and the nation’s top thought leaders in the post-acute care sector.
The Forum will follow the continuum of senior care transitions through the healthcare system—from acute to the post-care setting—exploring the issues and challenges during each transition. The Forum will bring together high-profile industry experts to provide reliable information on pharmaceutical care options for all patient care transitions. The program is designed for all stakeholders involved in care transitions: consultant pharmacists, health care executives, long-term care and pharmacy operations executives, home care, hospitals, and accountable care organizations.
Register here to attend this high-powered meeting and learn how major-league health and business professionals are improving post-acute care. This is an opportunity you should not miss. Learn more at ascp.com/forum.