Physicians who work with geriatrics have my vote for an under-appreciated speciality… Dr. Lachs spotlights a vulnerable time in hospital care…
After a heart attack, the last thing I wanted to do was leave the hospital… This was the most anxiety I had ever dealt with in my life; the hospital felt like the only safe place on the world….
Insurance will pay up to about four days after a heart attack, but they push for quick discharge… There was no one from the hospital who did any follow-up at all…
Pay attention, insurance companies, this would save you money in re-admission if there were more attention paid to people in care transition…
Mark Lachs, M.D.
Director of Geriatrics for the New York Presbyterian Health System
October 21, 2010
Care Transitions: The Hazards of Going In and Coming Out of the Hospital
The most vulnerable time in American health care is not necessarily during your hospitalization; it’s actually when you move from the hospital to the next convalescence waypoint — home, a rehab facility or just back to your doctor’s office. Consider a few of the following sobering studies from the field of care transitions:
* In some parts of the country, more than 25 percent of patients discharged from the hospital are readmitted within 30 days, often because no one tells them what to do or expect when they leave the hospital.
* Nearly half of hospitalized patients — of all ages — experience at least one medical error upon hospital discharge involving a medication, follow-up appointment or test.
* In another study of “the receiving end” of patient discharges, primary care physicians were unaware of 62 percent of tests that were still pending on their patients at the time of discharge. Since primary care physicians no longer follow their patients into the hospital, this problem is a huge and growing issue, because the tests are ordered by “hospitalists” and may never reach the right doctor.