- Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) announced its release of a new guide that supports the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare.
- The guide aims to help hospitals identify causes and solutions for avoidable readmissions among racially and ethnically diverse Medicare beneficiaries.
- The document found minority populations are more likely to face readmission at hospitals within 30 days of their release for some chronic conditions including heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia.
There are numerous factors that can impact readmissions among minority beneficiaries, the guide finds, ranging from socioeconomic disadvantages to cultural and linguistic barriers.
"These barriers can contribute to higher rates of readmission, including when patients misunderstand discharge instructions," the guide stated. It noted the risk for readmission may be especially high for chronic conditions highly dependent upon control of diet, weight management, and complex medication regimens.
“CMS has an important opportunity and a critical role in preventing hospital readmissions while promoting health equity among diverse Medicare beneficiaries,” said Cara James, director of CMS OMH, in a prepared statement. “This guide encourages action-oriented steps and solutions in achieving health equity, addresses reducing readmissions and focuses on our initiative of achieving better care, smarter spending, and healthier people throughout our healthcare system.”
The guide discusses issues including care transition, language barriers, health literacy, social determinants, mental health and co-morbidities, and provides seven specific recommendations.